The number of children managing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day drops by 40% as they move through primary school.
A survey of more than 1,000 children and 1,000 parents has found that being active makes most 5 to 11 year olds feel happier, more confident and more sociable. But their levels of activity plummet over the period that they are at primary school, and the worry of ‘not being very good’ is a significant factor in this decline. Some 22 per cent of children saying that this stopps them from being active – a figure which increases with age as it affects just 17 per cent of 5 year olds, but 29 per cent of 11 year olds.
Public Health England, working with Disney and Change for Life has launched a new programme to help encourage children to be more active.
Eustace de Sousa, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, PHE says: Children’s physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of 5 to 12 is concerning. Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all round better development into adulthood – getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits. This programme is part of our work to help children get the right amount of physical activity, both in school and out, as set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan.
Sport England will also help families try new sports and physical activities locally, whether at their local park leisure centre or through a well-known sport.
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People says: Tackling inactivity is a key part of Sport England’s strategy Towards An Active Nation, and we’re supporting families and children to get active together, using National Lottery funding. We know that parents can find getting their kids to be active a challenge. That’s why we’re proud to be supporting the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Ups with Disney, which uses storytelling to create a fun, and imaginative way for children and their parents to get moving, perfectly timed for the summer holidays.