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Kids Become Less Active Every Year of Primary

A study of 2000 children across the Southwest of England shows kids activity levels drop every year of Primary School resulting in a dramatic different between when they start and when they finish primary school.

The research by professor of paediatric physical activity Russ Jago from the University of Bristol found that kids became 17 minutes less active per week each year. Russ says the results show the numbers illustrate how we need intervention to fight the sedentary habit from creeping in.

“Evaluating patterns of physical activity across childhood is an important way to identify key ages in which to intervene to change behaviour – and establish healthy habits for life.

“These numbers prove that more needs to be done to ensure children keep active as they approach adolescence.

“This isn’t about getting children to exercise more, but rather maintaining their activity levels.

“Developing early intervention strategies that help children retain activity levels could include after-school physical activity programmes, focusing on participation and enjoyment in addition to popular sports – and a greater emphasis on promoting weekend activities.”

2000 pupils from 57 schools wore accelerometers all week including weekends. Activity which would be regarded as vigorous was recorded by the device.

UK Medical officer’s advice is that children do an hour of vigorous activity every day at minimum. The study however showed that whilst 61% of kids hit this target in year 1, this dropped to only 41% by year 6.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, British Heart Foundation said “Almost a third of children in the UK weigh more than they should, while one in four primary school children are not meeting the recommended levels of exercise”

The dramatic activity drop rates are accentuated even more in girls who drop from a 54% to only 28% by the time they finish primary. The study shows that girls are generally less active than boys but the drop off rates are far worse for girls every year.

The This Girl Can campaign by sport England was designed to stimulate uptake by women in sport and has had a decent effect resulting in 2.8 million 14-40 year old women saying they have done some or more activity as a result of the campaign.

The reason inactivity is such as sticking point for those in the know is because in total, 90% of children who were obese at the age of three remain overweight. Unfit children become unfit adolescents who become unhealthy adults who add extra strain to our already suffering NHS and invite ill health and reduced lifespans. KIds today are already expected to live 5 years less than their parents. This trend must be fought if we are to give future generations their five years back.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation says this is putting them at increased risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, later in life.

“Staying active must be combined with policies that help families make healthy and informed choices, such as a 9pm watershed on junk food marketing and restricting the promotion of unhealthy foods.”
– Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation

Hundreds of schools wishing to combat the sedentary creep in their pupils have been taking up student standing desk spaces in their classrooms. The results are in and reports from teachers and headmasters tell us that Including standing desks in classrooms helps improves children’s focus, behaviour and raises activity levels and engagement in the lesson. So schools may not be here to work on children’s fitness but if doing so raises their test scores and attentiveness then surely its no brainer?

Schools wishing to trial the EIGER Student Standing Desk can sign up for a try before you buy trial here on our website.

Source: Children become less active in each year of primary school [ITV]

Further reading: Sedentary pandemic threatens EU health

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