Results from South Korea's 2018 Report Card on physical activity for children and youth

J Exerc Sci Fit. 2019 Jan;17(1):26-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jesf.2018.10.006. Epub 2018 Nov 26.


Background/objective: South Korea's 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the second comprehensive evaluation of physical activity and the sources of influence based on the 10 core indicators provided by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. It will serve as an advocacy tool to promote physical activity among children and youth.

Methods: Three national surveillance data (i.e., 2017 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey, 2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2016 Physical Activity Promotion System) were used as main sources to evaluate the indicators. Descriptive statistics were performed to obtain prevalence estimates of physical activity-related indicators. In addition, expert opinions as well as the most recently available published or unpublished relevant sources were synthesized.

Results: South Korea's 2018 Report Card, compared to the 2016 Report Card, showed favourable changes in the Active Transportation (B+), Organized Sports Participation (C), Sedentary Behaviours (D), and School (D+) indicators, while unfavourable changes were shown in Overall Physical Activity (F) and Government (D). Physical Fitness was graded as D+. In parallel with the 2016 Report Card, Active Play, Family and Peers, and Community and Environment remain ungraded due to insufficient data.

Conclusions: Successes as well as gaps and research needs were identified in the 2018 Report Card. Though some indicators have shown improvement, most children and youth continue to be insufficiently physically active with overall poor grades (Average of D+). To achieve substantial improvement in all grades in future Report Cards, more institutional and governmental support and investment is needed to promote physical activity. Furthermore, effort should be made to generate data pertaining to the indicators that were ungraded.

Keywords: KNHANES; KYRBS; advocacy tool; fitness; pediatric health promotion policy; physical activity surveillance.