Number of children getting enough physical activity drops by 40% between ages of 5 and 12.
- Four in five parents (79%) said being physically active makes their children feel happier
- Together with Disney and Sport England, Change4Life launched its 10 Minute Shake Ups programme to help children to get active all year round–the campaign also received the backing of several Team GB Olympians
The number of children meeting the recommended amount of physical activity for healthy development and to maintain a healthy weight, which is 60 minutes a day, drops by 40% as they move through primary school.
A survey from Public Health England and Disney looking at the effects of physical activity on children’s emotional well being, found:
- Being active made the majority of 5-11 year olds feel happier (79%), more confident (72%), and more sociable (74%), according to their parents
- Nearly all children’s aid they liked being active (93%)
- The main motivations for kids to be more active was having friends to join in (53%) and having more activities they liked to choose from (48%)
- Children’s overall happiness declines with age – 64% of 5 and 6-year-olds said they always feel happy, compared to just 48% of 11-year-olds
- 19% of children said they were less active due to a lack of sports or activities they enjoyed
To help kids do more activity throughout the summer holidays, Change4Life launched its national 10 Minute Shake Ups programme with Disney and schools across the country.
The programme offered fun, 10-minute activities for kids, featuring their favourite Disney characters and shows as inspiration. The activities, designed for children to do anywhere in small or large groups with their friends, helped children get more of the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need each day for healthy development and to maintain a healthy weight.
Just 23% of boys and 20% of girls met the national recommended level of activity. Furthermore, one in five children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.
Eustace de Sousa, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England says: “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 2 bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits. This programme is part of our work to help children get the right amount of physical activity, both in school and out, as set out in the Child Obesity Plan.”
The survey also identified the main barriers to physical activity and revealed that the worry of ‘not being very good’ was one of the most common, affecting 22% of children. This increases with age as it affects just 17% of five-year-olds, compared to 29% of 11-year-olds.
The 10 Minute Shake Ups programme focused on fun activities all children could do and was supported by a number of Team GB athletes, including Olympic swimmer Keri-anne Payne, who lent their voices to the campaign to encourage more children to take part and illustrate the benefits of physical activity.
Keri-anne Payne, Olympic marathon swimmer and ambassador of SportsAid, says: “Physical activity has always been an important part of my life, as I started swimming from a very young age. But being active is not just for Olympians, it’s for everyone. The 10 Minute Shake Ups provide a load of fun activities to get kids moving more. Anyone can try them and they are a great way for kids, their friends and the whole family to get moving throughout the summer.”
10 Minute Shake Ups ran in collaboration with Disney and Sport England. The Shake Ups featured characters from Disney Pixar’s latest animation Cars 3, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Moana, Frozen Fever, and Zootropolis, as well as the stars of The Lodge.
Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President and Head of Disney Healthy Living UK says:“We know Disney stories and characters can help inspire children and families to be more active by making it simple and fun. As part of Disney’s global healthy living commitment, since 2006 we have been looking at ways to support families to live more healthily.
“Last year’s successful Finding Dory “just keep moving” campaign with the ASA and Change4Life saw over 70,000 families take part in family swim sessions at hundreds of pools across the UK.Highlighting the power of partnership, we are excited to continue working together with Change4Life on the 10 Minute Shake Up programme to encourage children to be more active.”
Sport England helps families try new sports and physical activities locally, whether at their local park leisure centre or through a well-known sport.
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People says: “Tackling inactivity is a key part of Sport England’s strategy Towards An Active Nation, and we’re supporting families and children to get active together, using National Lottery funding. We know that parents can find getting their kids to be active a challenge. That’s why we’re proud to be supporting the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Ups with Disney, which uses storytelling to create a fun, and imaginative way for children and their parents to get moving, perfectly timed for the summer holidays.”
In 2016,the 10 Minute Shake Ups programme helped over a million children get more active. When children returned to school in September, more activities were released on the Change4Life schools website to encourage them to carry on being active both in and outside the classroom.