Last month the Telegraph published an article about British children being among the least inactive in the world and how exercise had slipped out of modern life – is this really the case? Read the article here
Many years ago when I was at school, it was Football, Rugby and Cross Country, usually performed in all-weather conditions and without regard for conditions underfoot. There certainly wasn’t any 3G or 4G pitches to enjoy and often it was a case of who came back the muddiest and make sure you weren’t last!
Im reliably informed its now dodgeball, table tennis, trampolining and other sports that provide a greater variety of school sports – but all ultimately providing essential coordination, movement and exercise.
According to the experts children are starved of outdoor activity; the government states children should do an hour of moderate intensity physical activity per day surely thats achievable?
The news gets worse when England, Scotland and Wales was found among the worst in comparison to 38 countries with us all lagging behind countries including Poland, Slovenia, and Venezuela. Childhood obesity has also reached record levels according to the latest figures with one in 10 children obese when they start primary school and one in five reaching obesity by the end of it.
So, with these grim statistics facing us what can we do? Lets look at the positives
Well we are quite a sporting nation arent we? As recent hosts of the London Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup etc surely participation levels have increased across many sports as children seek to emulate their professionals?
Surely with all the Lottery money invested in our athletes, our facilities and equipment, its easier to get involved at a higher level with first class coaches available to help us?
In a recent blog, I received some very interesting feedback and comments regarding quite the opposite of this article maybe our children are overworked and over exercised and face too much pressure to perform.. I quote..
the schools will also have games and after school activities (plus academic studies too) and this will all pile on to an already over worked child. Especially if any of these children who pick up an injury and is reluctant to tell coach they have it. They play on at a lower standard than the usual because of the size of the squads they are concerned they may loose their place in the team if they own up to an injury. Then the overuse of injury situation occurs and the player could end up being permanently injured
(Thanks to Dave Horrocks for his quote and feedback)
What else can we do? Well with parents/carers ultimately responsible for transporting children to and from their activities then maybe we hold some responsibility? Longer working hours, more commuting, busier lifestyles and lack of resources may all contribute to difficulties in taking our children to extra activities. Perhaps we should be setting up more safe car-share schemes or find more local activity centres?
How about finance? Most after-school clubs cost money to attend, and we all know how expensive this can become with multiple children or multiple activities. As the cost of hiring sports halls, playing fields & community centres continues to increase, ultimately its the parents that will need to pay.
The British climate doesnt help either -who wants to go out and play in cold and wet conditions when you can sit and watch YouTube in the warmth of your teenage bedroom.
Show me children that dont want to play Call of Duty or FiFA on their Xbox or PlayStations or sit with their iPads chatting to friends (who are probably in the next street) why would they want to play Kirby outside or kick a ball about in the streets?
If you want your children to get out and exercise maybe we are best off selling up and heading to New Zealand, South Africa or Slovenia the most active of all countries according to the Telegraph!
Whatever the answer we need to start acting quickly, to help our children get active, to help ourselves get more active, to build local and vibrant sporting communities – the obesity problem wont magic itself away“ we need to act on our exercise and think about our diets that way we will move away from the bottom of this league and start climbing towards the top.
It is of course a serious problem and would love to hear your views on the above subject, if you have an idea to make our children more active, we would love to hear share your thoughts and ideas.