SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Despite being bigger and taller, young South Koreans are less muscular and less strong than the older generations, a new study has revealed.
The study released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Wednesday showed that South Korean men in their early 20s have grown 4.4 centimeters in height and 9.6 kilograms in weight, while their female counterparts grew 3.7 centimeters and 5.1 kilograms as of last year compared to 1989.
Despite developing a bigger physique, however, both men and women were found to be less flexible and muscular.
According to findings from the flexibility tests, during which a sample of 5,200 adults were made to sit on the ground with both legs straight and move their upper body forward, South Korean men in their early 20s and 30s are now 38.9 percent and 3.4 percent less flexible than when the tests were conducted in 1989.
Similar patterns were found when it came to physical strength, with men and women 15.9 percent and 6.2 percent less muscular, respectively.
In a further sign of the seriousness of the findings, young people have also become less agile over the last two decades, while their motor skills haven’t changed much in recent years.
In stark contrast however, the health of older South Koreans has improved in recent years.
Both men and women aged between 50 and 64 showed improved results from running, standing jump and sit-up tests compared to 2015.
Seniors aged over 65 also became stronger over the last few years both in terms of endurance and leg strength.
However, the average weight, waist size and body mass index increased in most age groups, particularly men in their 30s and 40s where the average BMI was higher than 25, the threshold for being obese.
“Young people are expected to face a higher risk of becoming ill compared to their parents’ generation, and are urged to maintain their health on a regular basis,” an official from the sports ministry said.
“Better awareness of the importance of exercising among older generations seems to have encouraged more people to exercise,” the official added.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)