More than 60% of children in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are failing to hit the recommended daily levels of exercise – prompting calls for a co-ordinated plan of action.
Guidelines from chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, say children should be completing at least 60 minutes of activity every day.
But latest figures show that 57% of young people aged between 5 and 11 in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are failing to hit this target, and that rises to more than 64% for 11 to 16-year-olds.
The statistics come from Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People survey, the largest of its kind, which gives a comprehensive insight into how children in England are taking part in sport and physical activity.
The correlation between being active and remaining fit and healthy is well documented, but this latest data also provides clear evidence of the link between activity and mental wellbeing, with the most active children also reporting the highest levels of happiness.
“Here in Shropshire, we are keen to gain more insight into what is preventing greater numbers of children and young people from achieving the chief medical officer guidelines,” explains Chris Child, chief executive of Energize, based at Frankwell Quay in Shrewsbury.
“It is crucial that young people are given every opportunity and encouragement to find activities to suit them.
“In March, when Sport England publish the data regarding motivation, confidence and knowledge, this will really help us.
“In the meantime, we shall be using our experience and partnerships across the county to develop new initiatives to ultimately help improve the lives for the younger generation.”
Energize is already running an ‘Active Advent’ campaign with daily exercises, and from December 17, the team will also begin publishing a series of ideas for getting active over the Christmas holidays.
People are encouraged to follow the suggestions, and share their own ideas and photos on twitter @EnergizeSTW and facebook /EnergizeSTW using the hashtag #activechristmas
In Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin, many improvements and increases in opportunities to be active have already taken place over the last few years. They include:
- Focus on School Games for primary and secondary schools – all schools have the opportunity to take part in festivals and events being run across the county throughout the academic year.
- The government-funded Primary PE & Sport Premium for all primary schools provided local schools with an average of £17,500 during 2017/18 aimed at achieving self-sustaining improvement in the quality of PE and sport.
- The number and variety of sports clubs, for girls and boys of all ages has grown significantly.
However, much more needs to be done. Tim Hollingsworth Sport England chief executive says: “Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity.
“This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us.”
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