Over half of 4 to 11-year-olds get sufficient exercise

© CBS
In 2017, more than half of all children aged 4 to 11 complied with the standards for physical activity as set by the Health Council of the Netherlands. Almost two-thirds were taking part in sports at least once per week, as reported by their parents. Of all adults with at least one child in this age category, less than half complied with the physical activity guidelines and over half said they took part in sports at least once weekly. These are the results of the 2017 National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor, which Statistics Netherlands (CBS) conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor shows that 55 percent of the 4 to 11-year-olds met the physical activity guidelines in 2017. According to the Health Council’s guidelines, children in this age group should engage in a moderately intense activity for at least one hour per day, for example by cycling, walking or swimming. In addition, they should engage in muscle and bone-strengthening activities such as jumping, dancing or strength training exercises at least three times per week.

Infographic, Physical activity guidelines

Children and physical activity guidelines

More than half of all children aged 4 to 11 years were taking one hour of moderately intense exercise every day. Virtually all children were engaging in muscle and bone-strengthening activities three times a week. There was no difference between boys and girls and no difference between children aged 4 to 7 and children aged 8 to 11.

Compliance with Physical Activity Guidelines, 2017 (%)
 Parents of child(ren) aged 4-11 yearsChildren aged 4-11 yrs
Complies with activity standard47.255.5
Sufficient moderately intensive activity5455.5
Sufficient bone/muscle-strengthening activity77.199.4

Almost half of all adults meet physical activity guidelines

In 2017, the share of adults with at least one child in the age group 4 to 11 years who complied with the physical activity guidelines for adults stood at 47 percent, slightly less than half. According to these guidelines, persons aged 18 and up should engage in moderately intense activities for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week and in muscle and bone-strengthening activities at least twice per week.

Especially when it comes to muscle and bone-strengthening activities, parents in this survey are less compliant than their children. Only 77 percent of parents meet the activity guidelines versus 99 percent of the children.

Weekly sports activities by children aged 4 to 11 years, 2017 (%)
 
Sports club members
Weekly activity73.5
Less than weekly2
Users of sports facilities
Weekly use13.5
Less than weekly6.9

65 percent of children engage in weekly sports activities

Of all children aged 4 to 11 years, 65 percent engaged in sports weekly in 2017; 52 percent of 4 to 7-year-olds and over 79 percent of 8 to 11-year-olds indicated they did so on a weekly basis. There was no difference between boys and girls. The children taking part in weekly activities included 73 percent who were members of a sports club and 13 percent who made use of sports facilities.

The children not taking part in weekly activities included 2 percent who were members of a sports club and nearly 7 percent who made use of sports facilities.

Weekly sports activities by parents of children aged 4 to 11 years, 2017 (%)
 
Sports club members
Exercising weekly33.8
Exercising less than weekly2
Sports facilities users
Exercising weekly34.8
Exercising less than weekly4.7

Adults exercise less often than children

The share of adults with at least one child in the age group 4 to 11 years who engaged in weekly sports activities stood at 53 percent. This share is lower than among children in that age group. The adults taking part in weekly sports activities included 34 percent who were members of a sports club and 35 percent who made use of sports facilities.

The adults were more likely to maintain a subscription at a sports provider, such as a gym, fitness centre or swimming pool.