Scottish kids among world's least active

Video game-obsessed Scots children are among the least active in the world, research involving a University of Strathclyde academic has suggested.

Out of 15 countries assessed, kids in Scotland came bottom of two league tables – one ranking physical activity, and the other screen-based leisure time, including watching TV and gaming.

The findings were unveiled in Toronto, Canada, in the first "Global Matrix" of children's physical activity, with Scotland's data provided by a Strathclyde-led expert group.

However, the report – entitled "Physical Activity of Children: A Global Matrix of Grades Comparing 15 Countries", published in the "Journal of Physical Activity and Health" – did rate Scotland highly in two other league tables.

One of these rated "national policies, strategies, and investments in relation to child and adolescent physical activity", while the other ranked "having a supportive community/built environment for child and adolescent physical activity".

The Global Matrix assessed nine indicators – overall physical activity; organised sport participation; active play; active transportation; sedentary behaviours; family and peers; school; community and built environment; and government strategies and investments. Each of these indicators is assigned a grade in the Global Matrix – from the top "A" mark, down to "F".

Scotland scored an "F" in two categories – overall physical activity, and sedentary behaviour – or screen-based leisure time. Its best ratings – of "B" – came in the categories of "community and built environment" – which includes the availability of parks and playgrounds – as well as "government strategies and investments".

Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health Science, John Reilly, of Strathclyde's School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said:

The Global Matrix reveals an interesting relationship between lower physical activity and higher sedentary behaviour in countries with better infrastructure, and indeed we found this to be the case in Scotland.