Wigan children are '˜not active enough'

More than a third of youngters in Wigan do less than half an hour of physical activity a day, it was claimed today.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 9:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 5:03 pm
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The Active Lives Children and Young People survey, published by Sport England, found that an estimated 14,400 children aged between five and 16 in Wigan do less than 30 minutes of exercise a day on average.

A further 9,800 manage an average of at least half an hour a day, but less than an hour.

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines state that children should get at least an hour of physical activity every day of the week – but 82 per cent of five to 16-year-olds in Wigan fail to hit this target.

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The Active Lives Children and Young People is the largest ever survey of its kind, based on responses from over 100,000 five to 16-year-olds during the academic year 2017-18.

Anything that raises your heart rate and makes you out of breath counts as physical activity – from organised team sports to playing outside.

The study found a third of children in England don’t manage an average of half an hour of activity a day, and less than 20 per cent met the Chief Medical Officer’s target of an hour every day.

Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth said he was calling for system-wide change and “a national focus on the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children”.

He called the report “a big wake-up call for all of us”. Mr Hollingsworth added: “Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and Government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity.

“These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required.

“We know that lots of factors affect behaviour and there is no single answer to the problem; but listening to young people and what they want is the best starting point.

“Our children deserve better, and Sport England is determined to play its part.”

James Winterbottom, director for children’s services at Wigan Council, said: “Supporting our children and young people to be active is one of our key priorities and ambitions in Wigan Borough.

“We know the difference being active can have on physical and mental health and that’s why we are supporting The Daily Mile in our schools and nurseries to encourage children to exercise every day.

“There are around 14,000 children participating in The Daily Mile , and we’re seeing it have such a positive impact on the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of our children. We are extremely pleased that other areas across Greater Manchester can see the benefits and are now starting to pass this ethos onto their young people.

“We also have outstanding community clubs across our borough that give our young people access to safe opportunities for physical activity and great coaching and development.

“Next year there will be a big focus across the whole of Greater Manchester to get more children active through the GM Moving programme and we are confident that by working together with our partners we can increase the number of children getting active and this will have a positive impact on their future health and wellbeing.”