The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey is the biggest ever of its kind, and gives an extensive overview of how children in England are taking part in physical activity – and the results, frankly, are alarming.
An array of sporting bodies in this country are continually creating new schemes and initiatives to get more people – especially young people – more active and involved in sport in their local communities, and KUDOS are keen to highlight as many as possible. But this wake-up call perhaps underlines a need for a more holistic approach. While these initiatives are always admirable, sometimes groundbreaking and often effective, it’s time for government, schools, parents and local authorities to work together and address the worsening issue of child inactivity.
The survey found that 3 million children – 43.3% – lead active lives, but of those 3 million only 1.2m meet the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of more than 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week.
Another worrying finding is the gender divide between activity levels of boys and girls. Boys are more likely to be active every day than girls – 20% (boys) compared to 14% (girls). This difference increases as girls get older, with a large gap opening from the end of primary school (Years 5 and 6).
New Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth reckons now is the time for action.
I am calling for a national focus on the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children and for the whole system to be united in delivering change. Our children deserve better and Sport England is determined to play its part. Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity. This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us.
We all care about the health and wellbeing of our children. These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required. We know that lots of factors affect behaviour and there is no single answer to the problem but listening to young people and what they want is the best starting point. In March we will publish the first results of our research on the attitudes of children to sport and activity, showing what they do and don’t like about being active. tim hollingsworth, sport england ceo
You can find the full findings of the report here.
There is now overwhelming evidence that an active child is a happier and healthier child. It’s incumbent on us all to do our bit to ensure our children are getting as much exercise as possible. Let’s make 2019 a more active year!
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