Children 'lacking in exercise'

Half of all seven-year-olds do not get enough exercise - and girls are far less active than boys, research shows.

Govt maintains commitment to Olympic legacy

The Government have maintained their commitment to the Olympic legacy after the BMJ found half of seven-year-olds are not getting an hour of exercise daily:

We want children to exercise more which is why the Government is building on our Olympic and Paralympic legacy and investing £1 billion in community sport.

We have committed to giving primary schools £300 million of ring-fenced funding to improve PE and sport, and help all pupils to develop healthy, active lifestyles, and have invested a further £3 million to extend Change4Life School Sports Clubs to areas with the highest childhood obesity.

– A Department of Health spokesman

Advertisement

BMJ: Promote walking or cycling to school

More needs to be done to boost the amount of exercise children are doing, including promoting walking or cycling to school, said researchers behind new data on the exercise habits of Britain's youngsters.

Last year the London 2012 Olympic Games promised to inspire a generation to take part in sport. The UK sporting success in August 2012 provided a platform for the Government's plans for an Olympic and Paralympic sporting legacy, to encourage and enable pupils to engage in competitive sports and activities.

The results of our study provide a useful baseline and strongly suggest that contemporary UK children are insufficiently active, implying that effort is needed to boost physical activity among young people to the level appropriate for good health

– Researchers for the BMJ

BMJ's exercise findings in full

According to the BMJ's research into exercise taken by seven-year-olds:

  • Only on in three (33 percent) of Bangladeshi children managed the recommended exercise minimum.
  • Children in Scotland were the second worst country for overall activity. Only 52.5 percent were able to meet the one hour target.
  • Seven-year-olds living in the north west of England were the most likely to hit the one hour mark, with 58 percent taking part in vigorous exercise.
  • However, children in the midlands came in last, with only 46 percent likely to meet the bare minimum.

BMJ: Young children need to be more active

Lazy boy
Seven-year-olds are sedentary for at least 6.4 hours every day, according to research. Credit: PA

At lest half of all seven-year-olds are not getting enough exercise, and girls are far less active than boys, research by a leading medical journal has found.

Only 51 percent of British seven-year-olds are getting an hour of exercise every day - the recommended amount - and twice as many boys than girls are active enough.

Just 38 percent of girls take part in the required hour of exercise, according to the British Medical Journal's (BMJ) research.

On top of this, half of all seven-year-olds have no or very little exercise, spending at least 6.4 hours of every day in activities which require sitting still.

Children of Indian origin or living in Northern Ireland are among the least physically active, according to the BMJ.