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91% of children don't get enough exercise, says YouGov

Posted on in Cycles News, Outdoor News

Almost 100% of children don't get enough exercise, according to results of a YouGov survey in partnership with Sustrans.

Sustrans commissioned the research to coincide with the launch of the Big Pedal 2017 today, encouraging children to cycle or scoot to school.

Sustrans is using the launch to call on schools to use additional funding from a levy on soft drinks to increase levels of walking and cycling on the school journey.

The YouGov poll surveyed 1,370 parents of 5 to 16-year-olds about their children's daily levels of physical activity and found that fewer than one in ten (9%) are getting the recommended 60 minutes exercise a day.

About one in five (19%) of those surveyed said their child took part in 60 minutes of physical activity a day two days a week, while 13% said their children did so one day a week or less.

According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day "to maintain a basic level of health".

The survey also found:

  • 13% of the respondents were concerned their child was overweight, with nine percent saying in the past two years they had either been, or had thought about going, to see a healthcare practitioner about their child being overweight.
  • The number of children cycling the whole way to and from school is low at three percent. 
  • More than one in three (35%) of parents say their children now travel to school by car, while 12% of the parents surveyed said they had travelled to school by car as a child.

Walking, scooting or cycling to school would help children get their recommended hour of physical activity a day and maintain a healthy weight. However parents say the need for improved infrastructure, such as wider pavements and better crossings, and enhanced road safety are among their top priorities before allowing their child to walk, scoot or cycle to school.

Xavier Brice, Sustrans' CEO, said: "The average primary school journey is 1.6 miles - a distance that can be walked, scooted or cycled as an easy way of building more physical activity into our busy lives.

"We're calling on schools in England to use some of the funding from the doubled School Sport Premium and the Healthy Pupils' Capital Programme derived from the sugar tax to boost levels of active travel on the school journey.

"Local authorities need to play their part too and invest in safer and better infrastructure, if we want to reduce the high levels of inactivity of our children."

The Big Pedal 2017 runs until Friday, March 31st. Click here to find out more. 

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