From the article:
As Kenya quickly evolves financially and technologically, those who have ‘made it’ adopt trappings of wealth that tend to lead to a more sedentary life: private transport, the latest console games, televisions or laptops, and family time spent in fast food restaurants, instead of a game of football in the garden.
Says Dr. Vincent Onywera of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at Kenyatta University, and co-author of a new study on the physical activity transition of Kenyan urban and rural-dwelling children, “our initial research concluded that both male and female rural Kenyan children had higher running speeds, aerobic fitness and percentile rankings than urban Kenyan children. All Kenyan children, but particularly those in urban settings, are showing signs of the nutrition/activity transition”.
Overall, good grades are seen as being more important than physical aptitude, with parents encouraging children to do well in the class room in order to maximise opportunities for better employment, but to the detriment of the sports field. Those with the cash, do sign up for out-of-school physical activities, but, if the child fails to excel competitively or exams loom, these are often dropped.
Dr. Onywera and his team, along with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and Kenyatta Hospital, are proposing the establishment of the Children’s A Team, to focus on the promotion of healthy active living for the prevention and treatment of lifestyle diseases and related risk factors in children and youth in Kenya.
The research will hopefully provide a blue print for use within other African countries experiencing the physical activity and nutrition transition as they evolve into developed countries, and Dr. Onywera is calling out to all interested parties willing to provide assistance to join in the battle for our children’s future.
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