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Thursday 18th July 2019

Children becoming weaker

23rd May 2011

According to the results of a study by experts at Essex University, 10-year-old children are not as strong as they were ten years ago.


The research, led by Dr Gavin Sandercock, found that children had less muscular strength than they did in 1998, because they spend more time inside.

The study showed that children completed fewer sit-ups and were less likely to be able to hang from wall bars in a gymnasium.

The researchers compared the strength of a group of 315 10-year-olds in Essex in 2008 with a group of 308 10-year-olds in 1998.

They discovered that the amount of sit-ups children could perform in 2008 declined by 27.1%, while arm strength weakened by 26% and grip strength by 7%.

One in twenty children in 1998 could not hold themselves up while hanging from the wall bars, in 2008 only one in 10 were able to do it.

Dr Sandercock said: "This is probably due to changes in activity patterns among English 10-year-olds, such as taking part in fewer activities like rope-climbing in PE and tree-climbing for fun."

"Typically, these activities boosted children's strength, making them able to lift and hold their own body weight."

He added that the fact that 10% of children said they would not even try doing the wall bars test was "really shocking".

"That probably shows that climbing and holding their own weight was something they hadn't done before." 


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fred hahn

Tuesday 24th May 2011 @ 0:04

The children are not weaker since 1998.
They are heavier since 1998 (due to a low fat and thus a high sugar diet) and the heavier they are, the less of these exercises they can do. Considering the poor attention to detail in most research, I'm positive that their increased body weight was not factored in.


Thursday 16th June 2011 @ 13:34

Without reading the research, I would suggest that it would be invidious to assume these factors were omitted, or were in fact significant in the research group (not all 10 year olds are significantly heavier...). In any case, by using the ability to hold up body weight as the signifier you are in effect measuring power-weight ratio - a perfectly valid measure of strength. Probably requested to be described as 'strength' to simplify the reporting. After all, other things (eg fitness) being equal a heavier person should have stronger muscles to carry themselves around!

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