A report by MPs and peers has warned telling children to “sit still” sets them up for a lifetime of obesity.
Parents and teachers should encourage children’s natural inclination to be physically active instead of telling them to stop fidgeting or to be seated for long periods. Fitness experts said today’s children were being fed a diet of “sofa and screen time” while being starved of outdoor activities.
The report by the all-party parliamentary group on a fit and healthy childhood said most children today spend less time playing outdoors than prisoners are required to have outside by law. The group called on the Government to rewrite the childhood obesity strategy, to make promotion of exercise a more substantial part of it.
Baroness Floella Benjamin, co-chair of the group, said: “The UK is in the throes of an obesity epidemic – but at the moment, our Government is not rising to the occasion with all the weapons at its disposal.”
The report highlights research which found three quarters of British parents said their children spend an hour or less playing outside each day – the minimum amount of outdoor time given to prison inmates.
“Young children’s physical activity should be seen as the norm; something to be positively encouraged every day. Linked to this, identification of a ‘good’ child as one who sits still – as opposed to a happily mobile child, need to be resisted and challenged,” the report states, calling for a “significant shift” in attitudes towards young children.
That’s where we know we’ve got a a part to play with our EIGER Student Standing Desks in UK schools. In classrooms children are inactive for 4.5 hours every day and are creating a lifetime habit to sit in learning and working environments. It needs to change.