The Youth Sport Trust today welcomes the investment in school sport outlined in the Government's Childhood Obesity Strategy. The plan aims to tackle the childhood obesity crisis by channelling the money raised by the Soft Drink Industry Levy into physical activity and healthy eating initiatives for school children. This includes doubling the Primary PE and Sport Premium and investing an extra £10 million a year into school breakfast clubs.
Primary schools are asked to help every pupil to get 30 of the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise a day in school time. It is suggested that PE, active break times and after school clubs can promote activity at school, while parents and carers are expected to support the additional 30 minutes a day of exercise out of school time.
A healthy rating scheme will also be introduced to encourage primary schools to support activity and healthy eating for their pupils. This will be recognised in Ofsted inspections.
With soft drinks cited as the biggest source of sugar for children, the Government are calling for a 20 per cent reduction in sugar in products popular with children - with a five per cent reduction in year one. Almost a third of children aged two to 15 are obese, leading to health problems later in life such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We are delighted to see the Government sharpening its focus on the importance of children’s physical activity levels. The Youth Sport Trust passionately believes that providing children with the best possible experience of being active at school is vital to build the foundations for future physical and emotional health. In addition our evidence, which is backed up by wider academic research, demonstrates the positive relationship between physical activity and pupil learning and achievement. It is therefore essential that daily physical activity sits at the heart of the school day.
“The Youth Sport Trust is also excited by the potential of the doubling of the Primary PE and Sport Premium to allow schools to make the shift from increasing the provision of physical activity and sport in schools to creating a transformational step change in the training of teachers and the quality of provision for generations to come. We hope this additional investment will also allow the gains being made in primary schools to be extended through transition to secondary – the real success of the strategy will be in getting a whole generation of young people moving more.
“The Youth Sport Trust stands ready to support primary schools to put physical activity at the heart of their education offer, and working with the Government to shape how this plan can make a huge difference to young people’s lives.”
Public Health Minister, Nicola Blackwood, said: “Initiatives like this will make a huge difference to children’s health and fitness and we hope our new measures on school sport will help to create future Team GB Olympians.”