"Children who are more active have better health and wellbeing and generally do better in school," Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, told the BBC.
While there is no clear answer as to why physical activity levels are low, one explanation is schools prioritizing academic performance over physical fitness.
In Georgia, there was a push to institute mandatory recess in schools across the state, but the fight at the statehouse ultimately ended in a veto from Gov. Brian Kemp.
“This legislation would impose unreasonable burdens on educational leaders without meaningful justification,” Kemp said of the bill.
However, habits formed in childhood can carry on into adulthood. Dr. Regina Guthold with the World Health Organization told the BBC that whether or not kids are active or not during childhood will likely continue to follow them throughout their life.
"They have better cognitive function, easier learning, they have better pro-social behavior," Dr Guthold told the BBC. "Active adolescents are likely to be active adults."
So what can be done to combat the crisis? Here are some recommendations from WHO:
- Kids ages 5-17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-level physical activity every day.
- Additional activity will have greater health benefits for kids.
- Most physical activity for youth should be aerobic.
- Other activities that strengthen bones and muscles should be incorporated at least three times a week.
“Physical activity has also been associated with psychological benefits in young people by improving their control over symptoms of anxiety and depression,” according to WHO.