Survey finds decline in physical fitness among Japanese children


A survey by the Japan Sports Agency revealed a decline in physical fitness among the country’s children.

A 2019 exercise study by the Japan Sports Agency on nationwide physical fitness, athletic ability and exercise habits found a drop in primary and junior high school students for their total fitness score, which is the average of the totals for the different physiques. activities measured in the study. The decrease was particularly notable among primary school boys, whose total fitness score was the lowest on record since the study was first conducted in fiscal year 2008.

The study was conducted from April to July 2019, involving 2 million students, the majority of fifth-grade elementary students and second-grade junior high students in Japan. The physical tests included the eight categories: grip strength, sit-ups, forward stretch, side step, 20-meter shuttle run (high school students can choose the endurance run instead), dash of 50 meters, standing long jump and softball throw. (the college students throw a handball). The results were tabulated for all categories, with a total perfect score of 80 points.

The results of the Total Fitness Scores show fifth-grade primary school boys averaged 53.6 points, up from 54.2 points in FY 2018; while the average for fifth-grade girls was 55.6 points, down from 55.9 points the previous year. Meanwhile, junior high sophomores averaged 41.6 points for boys, up from 42.2 in FY2018, and sophomore girls averaged 50, 0, which was lower than last year’s 50.4 points.

Some of the reasons cited by the Japan Sports Agency for the decline in physical fitness include a decrease in time spent exercising, an increase in childhood obesity, an increase in the number of students who jump breakfast and increased “screen time” among college students playing video games or using their smartphones.

The survey found that when it comes to screen time, the percentage of students who reported looking at a screen five or more hours a day was as follows: 15.4% for fifth-grade boys primary, 9.2% for fifth year girls, 11.8% for second year middle school boys and 10.1% for second year girls.

Screen time among primary and lower secondary students

Compiled by based on Japan Sports Agency’s fiscal year 2019 survey.

Childhood obesity rates in fiscal year 2019 were: 11.1% for fifth-grade boys, 8.1% for fifth-grade girls, 8.6% for boys second year of lower secondary education and 6.6% for second year girls. All rates were approximately 0.3 to 0.7 percentage points higher than the prior year. Children who have problems with obesity tend to have lower total fitness scores.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Fast&Slow/Pixta.)


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