The natural order of classrooms has always been for children to sit. Whether it involves talking, discussion, working in groups or just listening to teachers, most of the time children do this from the comfort of a chair. On average, most primary school children spend 70% of their classroom time sitting down. Outside the classroom the number of children walking to school has decreased and, at the same time, many more children are now spending longer staring at screens. A 2015 study found that children aged 5 to 16 now spend an average of six and half hours a day in front of a screen. This is compared with around three hours in 1995.
A new poll has been conducted to coincide with the launch of this week’s annual ‘JanUary’ campaign (formerly National Obesity Awareness Week). It found a third of Britons believe more physical education at school and clearer food labelling would be most effective for tackling the obesity crisis.
The University of Bedfordshire has teamed up with Virgin Active to create a new way to approach Physical Education in a bid to get children embracing physical activity.
Organised sport should not be used to engage children in physical activity as it alienates them from taking part in regular exercise, according to the chief executive of Fit For Sport.
The National Governing Bodies for cricket, hockey and netball have joined forces in a bid to encourage 150,000 schoolgirls to play team sports. The initiative named, TeamUp has been launched by the England and Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey and England Netball. Their aim is to engage with more than 15,000 schools over the next three years to help them increase their offer in cricket, netball and hockey for girls aged between seven and thirteen.
According to the Finnish government, children should spend at least three hours a day performing physical activities. Parents in the country have been advised to actively encourage their children to pursue hobbies and interests that require physical exertion. Children under the age of eight are the main target in the new scheme.
Yesterday saw the government’s plan to tackle childhood obesity unveiled. The main aim for the scheme is to get children eating healthier and undertaking more exercise whilst at school. The strategy stated that primary schools in the UK will now be expected to deliver at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity to their pupils every day. Physical activity will also be a key part of the new healthy schools rating scheme. This voluntary scheme allows schools to demonstrate what they are doing to make children more physically active.
New research has suggested that the fitness levels of UK schoolchildren are being hindered by ‘lazy summer holidays’.