William Eichler 18 July 2017

Children getting enough physical activity drops ‘dramatically’

The number of children getting enough physical activity drops by 40%, health body warns.

A new survey from Public Health England (PHE) has revealed the number of children doing 60 minutes of exercise a day - the recommended amount of physical activity for healthy development - has fallen by 40%.

The survey, carried out in conjunction with Disney, also found being active made the majority of five to 11 year olds feel happier (79%), more confident (72%), and more sociable (74%).

The main motivations for kids to be more active were having friends to join in (53%) and having more activities they liked to choose from (48%). Nearly all children said they liked being active (93%).

Children’s overall happiness declines with age, the survey results revealed. 64% of five and six year olds said they always feel happy, compared to just 48% of 11 year olds.

Just 19% of the children asked said they were less active due to a lack of sports or activities they enjoyed.

The survey also found the worry of ‘not being very good’ was one of the most common barriers to physical activity, affecting 22% of children.

In order to encourage children to be more active, the public health programme Change4Life yesterday launched a national 10 Minute Shake Ups programme with Disney and schools across the country.

The programme offers 10-minute activities for kids, featuring their favourite Disney characters and shows as inspiration.

‘Children’s physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of 5 to 12 is concerning,’ said Eustace de Sousa, national lead for children, young people and families, PHE.

‘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.’

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