Physical activity levels may start tailing off as early as seven years old, rather than during adolescence as is widely believed, new research reveals.
The findings of a study by Newcastle University and the University of Strathclyde, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, question the assumption that decline only happens among teens and is gender-specific.
And there is no evidence to indicate that the decline is greater among girls than it is among boys, the results show.
Researchers say the prevailing view among policy-makers and health professionals is that physical activity levels during childhood are adequate, but fall sharply during adolescence, and that the decline is significantly greater among girls.
But there is little hard evidence to back this up, and what research has been carried out in this area has mostly been done before the impact of new technologies would have been felt, the experts add.