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Primary school children get fit for the future with help from chartered physios and dieticians

CSP press release published on 16 June 2010

Teams of chartered physiotherapists and dietitians will be running ‘Healthy school days’ in primary schools across the UK during this year’s Move for Health Kids campaign, which runs from 21 to 25 June.

The campaign, which is now in its second year, sees the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Association (BDA) join forces once more, to run a series of Healthy school day events and special Assemblies at primary schools throughout the UK.

With figures showing that a third of children in the UK are overweight or obese(1), and only a fifth of parents aware of how much exercise their children should be doing(2), the Move for Health Kids campaign involves teams of chartered physiotherapists and dietitians visiting schools to provide expert advice to parents, teachers and children on exercise and nutrition.

Ann Green, Chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy explains:

'Children are now, more than ever, at risk of obesity and the life-threatening illnesses caused by unhealthy lifestyles. With the popularity of sedentary activities - such as social networking and computer games - teamed with the time constraints today’s busy working parents face and the ‘car culture’ we have adopted, it’s not surprising that many children aren’t getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day.'
Over 20 schools will be participating in this year’s campaign and nearly three thousand pupils will get to learn about how to increase their levels of physical activity and enjoy a more healthy diet.

To aid parents in helping their children to meet their target of 60 minutes of activity per day, chartered physiotherapists suggest breaking activity down into more manageable 10-15 min chunks.

The CSP recognises the importance of a balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle, so it has joined forces with the BDA for them to provide expert nutrition advice and tips. Jessica Williams, of the British Dietetic Association’s Paediatric Specialist Group said:

'We know that good nutrition in childhood gives children the best start in life. Move for Health Kids is an opportunity for us to really highlight how easy it can be to make small changes and encourage children and their families to make better healthier food choices and increase their activity levels.'
CSP’s Fit for the Future leaflet which will be distributed to all schools taking part in Healthy School Day events, highlights how regular exercise can help improve concentration, learning and enhance self-esteem when teamed with a good balanced diet to provide the necessary energy.

This free resource was developed jointly by the CSP and the British Dietetic Association (BDA) to provide easy-to-follow advice for parents and teachers on exercise and diet. Download the Fit for the Future leaflet, or visit the Move for Health resources page where campaign information and resources can be downloaded or ordered.

Top tips from the leaflet include:

  • A reminder to break up the required 60 minutes of activity into 15 minute chunks throughout the day
  • Suggestions for involving children in household chores or games that are both active and fun
  • Advice on achieving good posture by encouraging children to walk like a soldier or like a ballerina with their shoulders back and head held high

Ann Green of CSP adds:

'The CSP’s new leaflet ‘Fit for the Future’ is a fantastic resource for teachers and parents, packed with bite-size hints and tips to keep your children fit and healthy. Just simple changes in lifestyle can make all the difference to your child’s health.'
For more information call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111. Out of hours please call Jennie Edmondson, CSP head of press and PR, on 07786 332197 or Becca Bryant on 07786 546095 or email pressoffice@csp.org.uk.

Notes to editors

1. Move for Health Kids aims to promote the importance of exercise and healthy eating to children, their parents and teachers and is part of the CSP’s wider ‘Move for Health’campaign. Move for Health encourages appropriate physical activity and aims to highlight how physiotherapists can help prevent illness and obesity.

2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK’s 49,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy assistants and physiotherapy students. An archive of previous press releeases is available on this site.

3. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is a partner of ‘Change4Life’ – the nationwide movement to help everyone eat well, move more and live longer. Visit www.nhs.uk/change4Life or call 0300 123 4567 for more information.

4. Childhood obesity - the CSP’s analysis of statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) 2007/08 revealed that 10 per cent of children in England are obese when they begin their formal education at school. By the time they are ready to move up to secondary school, the number of children who are obese has nearly doubled to 18.3 per cent.

5. Recommended levels of exercise - The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, in line with the Chief Medical Officer, recommends that children and young people should have at least one hour of moderate intensity physical exercise every day. Moderate intensity means that children’s heart and breathing rates should increase, but conversation should still be possible. Exercise should be varied to enable children to use different muscles, improve their bone health and develop flexibility. Exercise can involve planned sports activities at school but also includes active play during school breaks or at home; walking to and from school, swimming or games etc.

6. The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association for registered dieticians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with nearly 6,000 members. About two-thirds of members are employed in the National Health Service. The remaining members work in education, industry, research, sport settings or freelance. Media enquiries for the BDA should be directed to the media hotline on 0870 850 2517 or pr@bda.uk.com. For further details about the BDA, including factsheets on healthy eating for children, please visit www.bda.uk.com.

7. The Healthy School Days are also supported by 5 a day Fitness Ltd who provided fitness DVD resources free of charge to assist the sessions. For more information please visit www.5-a-dayfitness.com.

References

(1) The NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet in England. February 2009. Childhood BMI Statistics www.isdscotland.org Welsh Assembly Government. (June 2006). In Perspective. Food and Fitness. Crown. Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. (January 2007). Northern Ireland Health And Social Wellbeing Survey 2005/06 Topline Results - Childhood Obesity.

(2) Survey conducted by Opinium Research for the CSP through an online poll of 2,084 British adults between 9 and 14 April 2009. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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