School uniforms can restrict movement, making children less active.

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Wearing uniforms to school has been linked to underachievement in young children. exerciseEspecially girls.

With many children missing World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation At least 60 minutes of exercise per day, Margaret Ryan at Cambridge University and his colleagues decided to find out why.

They analyzed existing data on the physical activity levels of more than 1 million people. Children 5- to 17-year-olds from 135 countries and territories, which they compared with their online survey results on how common school uniforms are in those places.

Overall, boys were 1.5 times more likely than girls to meet WHO recommendations for physical activity. But the gap is nearly twice as large among younger children who live in places where school uniforms are the norm, Ryan says.

Among secondary school students (typically ages 11 to 17), uniforms did not appear to be associated with any sex-related differences in physical activity. However, in primary schools (ages 5 to 10), the gap between girls and boys was 9.8 percentage points in areas where at least 50 percent of schools required uniforms, compared to 5.5 percentage points where such Requirements were few.

According to the researchers, the difference in results between older and younger children may be because primary school-aged children get more physical activity from sporadic activities throughout the day, while teenagers get more of their total physical activity from structured activities. get from

“Girls may feel less confident doing things like cartwheels and tumbles on the playground, or riding bikes on a windy day, if they’re wearing a skirt or dress,” says the team member. Esther van SileusAlso at Cambridge University.

While the findings don’t show that uniforms are the cause of lower exercise rates, they are consistent with other studies that ban uniforms for children, especially girls.

A study in ChileFor example, it was found that when children wore sports uniforms to school instead of traditional clothing, such as skirts, blouses, ties and blazers, their cardiorespiratory fitness improved. There is concern that uniforms are stifling athletic activity among children, Ireland’s former sports minister Jack Chambers Mentioned the problem In the December 2022 report on youth sport.

While the findings do not support a “blanket ban” on uniforms, they do suggest that more research is needed, particularly on whether changing uniforms can help. “We don’t know, for example, if it’s the design of the uniform, the fabric or the shoes, specifically, that could be a factor,” Ryan says.