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Thursday's papers: Snow hazard, inactive kids and students' poor money skills

The press takes a look at hazards created by heavy snowfall, children exercising too little and poor financial skills among Finland's students.

Lapsia Suksimäen päiväkodissa

Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that the amount of frozen snow on tree branches has increased to dangerous levels and may present a risk to skiers and others spending time in the forests.

The paper said the heavy snow has caused trees to buckle and fall in the Jyväskylä region in central Finland. A number of cross-country ski tracks in that town have been partly or completely closed.

“We have closed about 50 km of tracks because of fallen trees,” said Kari Häkkinen from the municipal administration. “Hopefully people will understand they should keep away from these tracks. A falling tree is a real threat to life and limb,” he added.

Emergency services warn that people should be extremely careful if they go to forests where snow has frozen on trees. Mikko Hiltunen from Central Finland's emergency services said frozen snow on branches can weigh hundreds of kilos and snap a tree in an instant. “People won’t have enough time to react,” he said.

Heavy snowfall has also caused power outages in the region, HS added.

Inactive kids

Meanwhile, daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reports that only a third of all children and adolescents engage in the recommended amount of physical activity every day. What's more, the recommended amount – at least one hour of moderate or strenuous exercise daily – drops significantly with age, a study by the University of Jyväskylä shows.

More than 7,000 children between seven and 15 years of age took part in the study that researched the amount of exercise, inactivity and sleep.

While young children tend to play tag or kick the ball in the school yard, older children do not. “These kinds of activities are not considered cool among the older kids,” said Tommi Vasankari from the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research.

There is also a correlation between the amount of exercise and health problems, the paper said. “The results indicate that children who do not have much physical activity suffer from a range of health issues, including headaches, melancholy, sleep disturbances and loneliness,” said Sami Kokko from Jyväskylä University.

More positively, 88 percent of those surveyed had at some time taken part in activities organised by a sports club.

Sports clubs should however consider how to keep children active members longer, says Kokko, who adds: “Kids on average start organised sports at six years of age and quit at 11.”

Financial skills lacking

In other bad news for Finland's youth, most teachers think that schools do not teach students sufficient financial skills, reports tabloid Ilta-Sanomat.

Based on a survey of 750 teachers and 60 teacher trainees, two-thirds of the respondents were somewhat or very concerned about young people’s lack of financial skills. Teachers in vocational institutes were the most worried.

The good news is that most teachers believed they could have a positive effect on how young people handle money, IS said.

Research into 10 payday loan firms last year found that their lending volumes grew by 50 percent in 2017 alone.

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