Research, from Onbuy.com, has found that the current generation of children are the least active of all time and is currently costing the NHS £20 billion per year. The majority of British children do not achieve the recommendation of 1 hour of activity per day. If things do not change, these inactive children will grow into sedentary and unfit adults.
- 1 in 5 children leave primary school obese.
- Inactivity is the fourth largest cause of premature death around the world.
- Inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK.
Onbuy.com has analysed figures which ranked 38 countries across 6 continents, using 9 activity indicators, including ‘governmental strategies’, ‘sedentary behavior’, ‘family/peers’ and ‘sport participation’ to assess how active the children of the 21st century are. It was found that children in Slovenia were ranked the fittest, gaining an A- grade in overall fitness levels (meeting targets with 80%+ of children). Scottish children scored an F grade (meeting targets with less than 20% of children). English and Welsh children did not do much better than those in Scotland, achieving a grade of D-.
However, when the data was broken down, England’s highest score was for school and built community, achieving a B+. Organised sport in England was the worst for activity levels among children, with a D- grade; although some results were inconclusive. Scotland scored an F for inactivity among children, but gained B grades for incentives implemented by the government and community led projects. Despite its B grades and ideal environment to exercise, Scotland came joint last on the leader board.
Reasons for such low levels can be attributed to cuts to PE at school, less encouragement from parents and the increase of technological leisure. As a results kids are spending around 5.15 hours in front of screens each day after school.
In 2013, despite a surge in interest in sports post-Olympics, one third of teachers saw a reduction in time set aside for PE and extra-curricular activities.
Cas Paton, Managing Director, OnBuy said, “15 years ago you would see kids outside playing football or riding bicycles, now they are all indoors playing Xbox or online, and it’s such a shame! Not to mention the fact it’s so detrimental to their health. I do believe we will see things change as people are becoming more fitness conscious, and schools realise it’s a priority.”