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Fitness industry warns of childhood inactivity ‘epidemic’

26 June 2015 - 8:41am

Schools are failing to monitor the fitness levels of their pupils, leaving many children at risk of ill health due to inactivity.


Most primary schools are failing to track the fitness and activity levels of their pupils

This is the message in a report published this month by ukactive, a non-profit advocacy body that works to improve the health of the nation by promoting active lifestyles.

By using freedom of information requests ukactive surveyed a regional spread of primary schools throughout England.

The data shows that most primary schools are failing to track the fitness and activity levels of their pupils, with only one per cent formally measuring physical fitness or motor skills.

The report makes a series of recommendations, designed to tackle a potential ‘epidemic of inactivity’. These include calls for the government to

  • include a fitness measurement in the National child measurement programme
  • make walking to school the norm for most children by prioritising projects that encourage a safe, enjoyable walk to school
  • ensure that the ability to deliver an effective physical education curriculum is a ‘basic skill’ that is built into teacher training along with maths, English and science

Kenny Butler, physiotherapist and health and wellbeing development manager for ukactive, told Frontline: ‘Measuring children’s fitness levels can provide a much needed understanding of the health of our children’s hearts and allow us to understand where our children figure internationally.

‘Practically, it also provides a rationale for financial decision-making within schools about fitness programmes and facilities, and it could support increases in the quantity and quality of school physical activity.’

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