Just one in 30 of children aged either nine or ten completes the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The data, reported in the Mail on Sunday, was gathered by researchers at the universities of Exeter and Plymouth from 807 year five children from 32 schools in Devon.
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of Youth Sport Trust, comments on the findings:
We want to help create a future where the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport are understood and being accessed by every child. As this report demonstrates, today’s young people are among the least active ever, and their wider wellbeing is also in desperate decline.
Our own research has shown that this is happening at a time when Physical Education (PE) is being cut back in secondary schools. At key stage 4, 38% of schools had reduced timetabled PE in the past five years while 24% had done so in the past year. And while there is unprecedented public funding going in to PE and sport in primary schools the way this is being invested isn’t generating the gains it could.
“It is time for the place and role of PE and sport in our schools to be rethought. We are seeing exciting results of our work to date in this area. We hope the proposed School Sport Action Plan due for launch in the spring will bring a long-term, joined-up approach to harnessing the impact PE and sport can have on physical and mental health as well as the development of character and equipping children with vital life skills which support achievement in the classroom and beyond.”
You can read the Youth Sport Trust's Believing in Every Child's Future strategy here to find out more about how it is Transforming PE.