Children are becoming weaker, less muscular and unable to do physical tasks that previous generations found simple, a new research has revealed.
As a generation dedicated to online pursuits grows up, 10-year-olds can do fewer sit-ups and are less able to hang from wall bars in a gym. Arm strength has declined in that age group, as has their ability to grip an object firmly.
The study led by Dr Gavin Sandercock, a children's fitness expert at Essex University, studied how strong a group of 315 Essex 10-year-olds in 2008 were compared with 309 children the same age in 1998, reports the Guardian.
It found the number of sit-ups 10-year-olds can do declined by 27.1 per cent, arm strength fell by 26 per cent, grip strength by 7 per cent.
While one in 20 children could not hold their own weight while hanging from the wall bars in 1998, a decade later, one in 10 could not manage it.
"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," Sandercock said. "Typically, these activities boosted children's strength, making them able to lift and hold their own bodyweight."
The fact that 10 percent could not do the wall bars test and another 10% refused to try was "really shocking", he added. "That probably shows that climbing and holding their own weight was something they hadn't done before."
The findings have been published in the child health journal Acta Paediatrica.