*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
Physical activity might be one of the first things to drop off the radar as adolescent girls move from primary to secondary school, a new study says.
The South Australian study of the year 7 to Year 8-9 school transitions previously selected from several schools in metropolitan Adelaide found a steep decline in lunchtime, recess, and after-school physical activity—at a time when other social activities can reduce involvement in regular exercise and organized sports.
Funded by the Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation, the Flinders University and the University of South Australia study highlights complexities for young girls as they transition from primary to secondary school.
When regular schooling resumes, Flinders University researcher Dr. Kate Ridley says schools and families can play a part in supporting this vulnerable group by gaining a better understanding of how these socio-cultural, curricular, and environmental influences impact regular physical activity through this education transition.
"Steep declines in physical activity have been reported among children as they transition to adolescence, and females are at particular risk," she says, reporting the findings of a South Australian study published in an international public health journal.
"These changes in activity levels are particularly concerning, both for long-term health and wellbeing, but for the effects of a more sedentary lifestyle that can lead to weight gain, sleep problems, and poor mental health."
The article, "Changes in Physical Activity Behaviour and Psychosocial Correlates Unique to the Transition from Primary to Secondary Schooling in Adolescent Females: A Longitudinal Cohort Study," has been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.