News ID: 196813
Published: 0737 GMT July 17, 2017

Children exercise less as they get older

Children exercise less as they get older

The number of children doing an hour of exercise a day falls by nearly 40 percent between the ages of five and 12.

Figures suggest that by the final year of primary school, just 17 percent of pupils are doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day, according to

A spokesman for Public Health England described the drop in activity levels as concerning.

More than a third of children in England are overweight by the time they leave primary school.

A new survey from Public Health England and Disney looked at the effects of physical activity on children's emotional wellbeing

More than 1,000 children aged five to 11 were questioned, with their parents acknowledging that being active made their children feel happier (79 percent), more confident (72 percent), and more sociable (74 percent).

But the survey also found that children's overall happiness declined with age, with 64 percent of five- and six-year-olds saying they always felt happy, compared with just 48 percent of 11-year-olds.

Public Health England's Eustace de Sousa said, "Children's physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of five to 12 is concerning.

"Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all-round better development into adulthood — getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits."

Currently, just 23 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls, between the ages of five and 15, meet the national recommended level of activity, according to an the National Health Service (NHS) report published last December.

Not being very good was cited by many children as the reason they did not take part in some physical activities, with older children more likely to be self-conscious than their younger counterparts: 29 percent of 11-year-olds compared with 17 percent of five-year-olds.

As part of the Change4Life campaign, Sport England and Disney have joined forces to launch a 10 Minute Shake Ups program, encouraging children to take part in accessible activities across the school holidays.

Olympic marathon swimmer Keri-anne Payne, who is backing the campaign, said, "The 10 Minute Shake Ups provide a load of fun activities to get kids moving more.

"Being active is not just for Olympians, it's for everyone.”

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