More than three quarters of Devon children don’t exercise enough

PUBLISHED: 17:26 03 January 2019

83% of five to 16 year-olds in Devon failed to hit national targets. Picture: Getty Images

83% of five to 16 year-olds in Devon failed to hit national targets. Picture: Getty Images

BrianAJackson

Children ‘deserve better’ after damming survey reveals more than 25,000 Devon Children are not doing enough exercise.

83% of five to 16 year-olds in Devon failed to hit national targets. Picture: Getty Images83% of five to 16 year-olds in Devon failed to hit national targets. Picture: Getty Images

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines state a child should get at least an hour of physical activity every day but 83% of five to 16-year-olds in Devon failed to hit this target.

The Active Lives Children and Young People survey was the largest of its kind and received more than 100,000 responses across England during the 2017 – 18 academic year.

The survey classifies physical activity as anything that gets the heart racing and makes you out of breath including sport or playing outside.

Ben Feasey is the manager of Sidmouth Youth Centre and he said a healthy lifestyle is one of the key aims.

He said: “We do this by always including and encouraging physical activities during sessions and offering free fruit in all sessions.

“We also talk to our young people about the benefits of physical exercise in regard to mental health and wellbeing.

“It is included in our ten simple things to stay healthy.”

Physical activity has been shown to have significant impacts on the happiness of children and the NHS states it can help improve self-esteem, boost academic scores and lower stress.

Devon’s activity rates reflect a worrying trend across the country, and in the whole of England it was found that a third of children failed to do even half an hour a day.

Furthermore, less than 20% met the chief medical officer’s target of an hour of exercise every day.

Sports Minister Mims Davies said that efforts must be stepped up to encourage young people to live healthy, active lives.

She said the number of young people not doing enough exercise is ‘simply unacceptable’.

The CEO of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth, called on parents, schools and the government to help increase childhood activity.

He said: “These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required.

Government guidelines suggest that children and young people should get half their daily hour of physical activity at school with the remaining half coming outside of learning hours.

The survey showed that during school hours, 59% of students said they were active for less than 30 minutes a day compared to 45% outside school.

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