MONTREAL -- Quebec's teenagers have been getting less exercise and more screen time than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers surveyed 300 Quebecers between the ages of 14 and 17. Sherbrooke University professor Felix Berrigan said the results were stark.

“We saw a big increase in sedentary behaviour for most of the teenagers,” he said. “Actually, 73 per cent of them increased their sedentary behaviour. For me, this is a bigger probably than the decrease in physical activity.”

Of the teenagers polled, 53 per cent said their physical activity decreased since the onset of the pandemic. In Montreal, that number went up to 58 per cent.

Berrigan said those habits could have long-lasting effects.

“In children or adolescents, we don't see health effects right now, but later in life, that's when the problem comes,” he said. “If you were not as physically active when you were young, it's going to be harder to be active as an adult.”