- Posted by Chris Lincoln
- On 22nd November 2016
At Evolve we have known that British children have serious problems with physical inactivity due to their increasingly sedentary lifestyle since we formed in 2003, writes Evolve Managing Director John Bishop.
However, it is still shocking to learn this week that British children are among the least active in the world and fitness levels are continuing to plummet, markedly in the last two years. Results of an international study into childhood obesity have also found that one in ten children in England and Wales are obese when they start primary school and one in five by the time they go to secondary school.
Figures from the report presented to the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health placed England and Wales the third worst among 38 countries across the globe and Scotland the joint worst.
One of the best performing countries is Slovenia where around eight in 10 boys and seven in 10 girls aged between six to 18 took at least an hour’s moderate to vigorous activity every day. Compare this with 15 per cent of girls and 22 per cent of boys in England and Wales.
When I visited Slovenia recently (pictured) to share the work of our social enterprise I witnessed a combination of an active outdoor life and a much greater emphasis in schools on physical activity and active learning. Children are not sitting behind their desks all day but outside in the ample schools grounds and enjoying the more conducive climate for outdoor learning.
This report shows that British children are being stripped of the delight that physical activity can have on their lives in the short term and the benefit that it gives to their future health and happiness in the long term.
British schools should be helping our children to grow physically, mentally and emotionally, in equal measure to their academic achievements. Too much focus in one area is bound to lead to consequences in another area and our Health Mentors work tirelessly every single day to help offset the negative impact that British schooling can have on pupils’ physical and emotional wellbeing.
I will be furthering this discussion during my presentation at the forthcoming public health conference, Preventing Illness 2016 at The Wellcome Trust, London on Thursday November 24th where I will demonstrate how co-funded health and educational solutions can cost effectively deliver positive shared outcomes.