Number of kids getting physical activity drops by 40 per cent

The number of children getting just 60 minutes of daily physical activity has dropped by almost half, Public Health England has revealed.

A shocking 43 per cent of kids aged between five and 12 are no longer getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.

Experts warned the activity levels are “alarmingly low” and may impact heavily on development as well as mental and physical health in adulthood.

The latest figures show that just 23 per cent of boys and 20 per cent of girls meet recommended levels of activity while one in five kids start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.

Eustace de Sousa, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England said: “Children’s physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of five to 12 is concerning.

“Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all round better development into adulthood, getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits.

“This programme is part of our work to help children get the right amount of physical activity, both in school and out, as set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan.”

More than one in five (29 per cent) of 11-year-olds say a worry of “not being very good” prevents them from taking part in physical activity.

But kids are motivated to be active by having friends join in and having a wide selection of activities to choose from.

Despite a drop in physical activities, the majority (79 per cent) of five to 11-year-olds said being active made them feel more confident and sociable and 93 per cent said they liked being active.

In an effort to make exercise appealing Disney, Sport England and Change4Life has launched a ten minute ‘Shake Ups’ programme, backed by Team GB Olympians.

The selection of ten minute activities for kids features favourite characters from Disney’s Cars, Beauty and the Beast, Moana, Frozen and stars from The Lodge.

Last year the ten minute Shake Ups helped more than a million children get more active.

Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People added: “Tackling inactivity is a key part of Sport England’s strategy Towards An Active Nation, and we’re supporting families and children to get active together, using National Lottery funding.

“We know that parents can find getting their kids to be active a challenge.

“That’s why we’re proud to be supporting the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Ups with Disney, which uses storytelling to create a fun, and imaginative way for children and their parents to get moving, perfectly timed for the summer holidays.”