The Youth Sport Trust (YST) welcomes the latest research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), which reports that young people’s activity levels start to decline from the age of seven. This echoes our own research and supports our work to tackle inactivity in primary schools.
In February, we published our national research on how to address the decline in physical activity of girls aged from 8 years old, funded by Public Health England. The findings look at how schools can provide solutions to the inactivity of primary age girls and how to remove barriers to exercise.
The BJSM report also found that children aged seven spent half the day sitting, and by the age of 15 this had risen to three-quarters of the day spent sitting. The report author, Professor John Reilly says:
"Schools should be more active environments. There should be more activity breaks to break up long periods of sitting."
This study backs up the YST’s recently launched CLASS PAL - a physically active learning project where teachers are encouraged to integrate movement into lessons. The aim is to enhance children’s engagement and enjoyment of learning, help make the school day less sedentary and have a positive impact on achievement in the longer term.
Chris Wright, YST’s Head of Wellbeing says:
This report confirms the case for developing schools as active environments and addressing those instances of inactivity before they become a lifelong habit. With the growing body of evidence that children need to have the fundamental skills of movement and activity embedded into primary school life, we need to equip schools with the tools to tackle this early on. We simply cannot allow the next generation of young people face the mental, physical and wellbeing issues that come with sedentary lifestyles.
This cannot be about physical activity being another bolt on to what schools’ provide children throughout the day. It has to be integral to everything they do to create a movement culture for their students. Schools have the best opportunity to influence healthy decisions but they are also the place where sitting down for extended periods is becoming the norm.
YST recently launched a suite of programmes and resources to assist schools in getting every child active for 60 minutes a day with innovative solutions to active classrooms and active playgrounds. Chris adds:
“We know children that move more will have greater health, wellbeing and achievement...it is just about making small changes to the school day that can have the biggest impact.”