Laura Sharman 12 July 2017

School summer holidays creating 'class divide' over fitness levels

School summer holidays creating class divide over fitness levels image

The high cost of school holiday activities is opening up a ‘major class divide' in the fitness levels of children, new research has revealed.

The report from ukactive shows that the most deprived primary school children see their fitness levels drop 18 times greater than the richest children over school summer holidays.

The research – which tracked the cardiorespiratory fitness levels of more than 400 children in 13 schools – found the most deprived children were able to run far shorter distances in September than they could in June. Meanwhile, the fitness levels of the most affluent children only dipped slightly.

The researchers said the prohibitive cost of many school holiday activities were putting the poorest children at risk of deadly diseases later life. They said the government’s Sugar Tax should be used to help fund out-of-term exercise sessions.

Dr Steven Mann, ukactive research director and lead author, said: ‘There's a growing class divide around fitness levels due to the summer holidays and the government must urgently address these Victorian-style health inequalities to give every child a fair chance of a healthy start in life.

‘Our research with Premier Sport suggests deprived children are being plonked in front of screens for hours on end, while their more affluent peers are able to maintain their fitness levels through summer camps and other activities.

‘Money from the £415m Sugar Levy should be used beyond the school gates to plug these gaps in provision and ensure all children can access physical activity and pick up vital healthy habits from an early age.

Open for business image

Open for business

Andrew Knowles and Leena Gillespie explain how local authorities can reshape the future of Britain’s challenged high street.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Electrician

North West Leicestershire District Council
You could earn up to £31,173 per annum
You will be joining a busy team that carries out all types of maintenance and improvements across a diverse range of occupied and vacant properties. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Executive Director People

Bracknell Forest Borough Council
Up to £167,000
As a truly corporate player, you will bring a strong track record of service improvement and transformation as well as... Bracknell, Berkshire
Recuriter: Bracknell Forest Borough Council

Community Alarms Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£20,903 - £24,491 pro rata
We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who possess a good working knowledge of the community alarm service including assessing and installing... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Qualified Social Workers within Adult Services

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum
Essex County Council continues to review its ways of working during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to work within adult social care with a England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Occupational Therapists - Adult Services

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum
Essex County Council continues to review its ways of working during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to work within adult social care with a England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue