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Teens sitting for long periods of time could be impacting their bone health

Caleb Vongphit plays up 70 hours of video games a week, and has no plans to change his lifestyle anytime soon. Global News

Caleb Vongphit is taking classes at the University of Regina, and when the 19-year-old doesn’t have homework, he will spend 10 hours or more playing video games.

“I know being stationary for 10 hours isn’t good,” Vongphit said.

“I’m still young, so I still have my body in peak condition, so can kind of play more games at the moment.”

This is an attitude shared among many teens, but it’s potentially bone breaking. A University of British Columbia bone density study says 36 per cent of skeleton is developed during adolescence.

Normal bone growth is dependent on physical activity, but the study shows that only nine per cent of girls between 10 and 14 are active. The study found that 43 per cent of boys and nine per cent of girls were meeting the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity, and the amount they participated in declined as they got older.

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“Childhood and adolescence is when we are building the most bone in our body. So to negatively affect that at a lower peak bone density, you’ve got less room to move at older adulthood, until you hit the zone of being osteoporotic and in danger of easily fracturing,” Dr. Katya Herman, U of R Kinesiology Professor said.

Herman said every little bit counts when it comes to getting stronger bones, and it doesn’t even have to take much effort.

“If you think of children back in the day, children would go outside and putter. They weren’t necessarily breathing heavily, they were just playing, move about, rather than just stay still,” Herman said.

“Instead of sitting for three hours straight, or six hours straight, or an entire day on a weekend playing video games, get up a few times an hour. Take a break, go for a walk around, and come back for the sedentary pursuit,” she said.

As for Caleb, he has no plans to change his lifestyle anytime soon.

“Probably next year is when I’ll have to step down from my games a little bit, focus on school, stay active and keep a healthy body,” Vongphit said.

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