UK Active have released new information on how Summer holidays have a negative effect on children’s health.
They found that, on average, British school children lose 80 per cent of the fitness they build up during term time through “lazy” time off, with activities such as summer camps and sports clubs out of financial reach for many parents.
The study by UK Active measured 400 pupils before and after the summer holidays, and found they were able to run significantly less distance before stopping with exhaustion after the summer break.
The results were most pronounced among children from the poorest 25 per cent of families, whose deterioration was 18 times greater than those from the richest 25 per cent.
The not-for-profit organisation is calling on the Government to divert some of the £415 million expected revenue from the sugar tax promised for school sport to better holiday activities.
Dr Steven Mann, UK Active Research Director, who led the study, said the research “suggests deprived children are being plonked in front of screens for hours on end”.
“Being inactive as a child sets a dangerous precedent on a number of levels,” he said.
Previous research has indicated that half of seven year olds in the UK do not meet the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum physical activity guidelines of at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
“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.” said Dr Mann.