Less than 20% of kids getting recommended amount of exercise per day, survey finds

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10th December 2018 16:55 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

Less than 20% of kids getting recommended amount of exercise per day: A new Sport England survey has found just 17.5% of kids are getting the Chief Medical Officer's recommended amount of exercise (of one hour) per day.
The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey is the largest survey ever undertaken of its kind, polling 130,000 youngsters (or in some cases their parents) aged between 5 and 16 years in England. The survey looks into how active children in England are day to day, both in and out of the school environment. 
It found 23.9% (1.7 million) do around half an hour to 59 minutes of physical activity daily (considered 'fairly active'), while a third of those polled (32.9% equal to 2.3 million) said they do less than half an hour per day. There are also 1.8 million (25.7%) who exercise for an average of one hour per day but not necessarily every day.  Active every day for at least an hour are 1.2 million children - 17.5% of those polled. 
Also highlighted by the poll was that boys tend to be more active than girls with 20% of boys undertaking one hour of regular daily exercise compared to 14% of girls (looking across the entire range 5-16 years). As they grow older from, the gap widens. 
What kind of exercise are our kids participating in?
For kids of high school age, team sports (football, rugby, rounders, etc) make up the largest proportion of exercise taken (65% of 11-13 year olds and 56% of 13-16 year olds), while the more likely activities for younger children (5 – 7 years) are active play and informal games such as playground ‘tag’ (79%), walking to school or other places (73%) and swimming (53%). 
Effect of income in activity undertaken
The survey also found that children from poorer families are less active than those from affluent homes, with 39% of people from the poorest families engaging in less than half an hour of exercise each day, compared to a quarter (25%) from families with larger family incomes. It also found that where 85% of children from wealthier families can swim 25 metres by the end of primary school, that figure drops to 42% when looking at the least affluent.
Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England said:
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.”


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