The CSP has called for investment in a ‘well thought-out’ child health and well-being strategy and a reversal of public health spending cuts.
CSP regional steward Michelle Slack speaking at the event. Photo: Jess Hurd
Speaking to TUC Congress in Brighton, Michelle Slack, CSP regional steward and physiotherapist, demanded action to tackle the ‘plummeting’ levels of fitness among British children.
Sedentary lifestyles – with kids spending more than four hours a day looking at screens, on average – combined with poor diet, is leading to rising obesity rates among school children, she said. In addition, there is link with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, delegates heard.
‘We need the government to invest in our children by reversing the cuts in public sector health that have had such a devastating impact on funding for children’s services,’ said Ms Slack.
‘We need a properly funded, well thought out child health and well-being strategy that reaches across government departments in each UK country to ensure that our children get the start in life they need.’
She added that studies show that increased exercise also leads to improved mental health outcomes.
A coordinated strategy
The CSP was speaking in support of a motion on the health and wellbeing of all children and young people, moved by the British Dietetic Association, and seconded by the Association of Educational Psychologists.
It called on the government to:
- develop a coordinated strategy to be implemented and evaluated across the nation
- adopt a ‘child health in all policies’ approach
- introduce a ban on the advertising of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt in all broadcast media before 9pm
- develop cross-departmental support for breastfeeding
- reverse public heath cuts in England
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