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  1. ITV Report

New commission launched to tackle obesity in children

Children playing cricket in Cambridge. Photo:

Physical inactivity among our children has reached epidemic proportions according to new research.

Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge is so concerned about it he is part of a new commission that has launched today to work out how to get more of our children moving.

The World Health Organisation recommends children do an hour of physical activity a day. But only 30% of parents admit their child is doing that. Experts warn we have become dangerously inactive and there are knock on effects for not only our children's health but our economy too.

Experts say the problem comes from a lack of PE at school, the rise of TV and computer games.

Experts say the problem comes from a lack of PE at school, the rise of TV and computer games, and the reluctance of parents to let children walk to school.

Here in the UK physical activity has fallen by over 20% in less than two generations. And that is expected to fall by a further 35% by 2030. And the effects of that are worrying. Today's 10 year olds will be the first generation predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

And it's not just our physical health that suffers. Experts say this epidemic of inactivity is also damaging our communities and our mental wellbeing as well as draining our economy. The most recent estimates show that inactivity costs the UK economy over £20bn and the NHS almost £2bn a year.

At today's launch was former World Hurdle champion Dai Greene. He says small lifestyle changes make a huge difference.

Something children here in Cambridge agree with.

The Commission will look at policy changes to increase level of physical activity. Sceptics say it might not be enough, but everyone agrees something needs to be done, before time runs out.