Co-ordinated by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and supported by Discovery Vitality - the report grades aspects of activity and eating behaviour in South African children and youth aged 6 to 18, based on scientific evidence over the past five years.
South Africa is one of 39 countries that participated in the study.
“On a global scale, less than 20% of children and youth are meeting recommendations for physical activity, and for the first time in history, there are more children who are overweight and obese, compared to those who are under-nourished or stunted,” says Professor Vicki Lambert.
In primary schools in the Western Cape, three out of four boys, and at least half the girls, took part in moderate or vigorous activity three times per week, the report noted.
Other findings are:
Malnutrition is rife: One in four preschoolers is overweight while one in five is stunted. 74% of rural children are underweight.
More than half of primary schoolchildren tested below average for motor control skills.
Less than half of children play sport at school as grounds are not conducive.
Local teenagers consume more than one soft drink a day, and three times the recommended amount of sugar a week.
Most children eat less than one portion of fruit or vegetables a day. The recommendation is five a day.