Children Need More Exercise, Especially Girls

October 12, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. youngster [YUHNG-ster] (n.) – a child
Example: Nutritionists recommend giving youngsters at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

2. accelerometer [ak-sel-uh-ROM-i-ter] (n.)  – an instrument that measures acceleration to detect movement and measure the speed of a moving body
Example: The iPhone’s accelerometer is used by fitness apps to measure physical activity.

3. quota [KWOH-tuh] (n.) – an amount or a number that is expected to be achieved
Example: The gym instructor reached his monthly quota of trainees.

4. compelling [kuh m-PEL-ing] (adj.) – extremely interesting or convincing
Example: My sisters found badminton to be a much more compelling option than tennis.

5. disquieting [dis-KWAHY-i-ting] (adj.) – causing worry or fear
Example: The teachers found the students’ poor performance in the exams to be disquieting.


Read the text below.

A new study has found that 50% of children in the UK are not getting enough exercise and that girls are far less active than boys.

In the study, researchers from the University College London surveyed 6,500 children during 2008 and 2009. To track their physical activity, the youngsters wore an accelerometer attached to an elastic belt around their waist. The belt was only removed when bathing or sleeping.

The scientists discovered that only half of the children they monitored achieved the recommended one hour of physical activity per day. Moreover, only 38% of the girls reached the quota, compared to 63% of the boys. Researchers also found that some ethnic groups were more active than others. Indian children, for example, were among the least active at 43%, compared to 53% for Scottish children.

Prof. Carol Dezateux, one of the authors of the study, believes that people need to do something to make sports more compelling for girls. According to her, the school playground is a good venue to start encouraging girls to play sports.

According to the researchers, these findings are particularly disquieting because most children tend to become less active as they grow older.  

Dr. John Middleton of the UK Faculty of Public Health said that children’s active lifestyle is not only relevant because it is expected of a civilized society but also because it affects the economy. Therefore, actions to make young people more active should be further encouraged.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, why do girls tend to be less active than boys?
·         How do you think society can encourage girls to participate more in sports and exercise?

Discussion B

·         Do you think people in your country generally get adequate exercise? Why or why not?
·         How can people with extremely busy lifestyles fit exercise into their schedules? Discuss with your tutor.


October 12, 2013