Are our children active enough?
Research indicates that computers, TVs and sedentary lifestyles are major factors in the decreasing levels of fitness in children. Latest research shows that children spend an average of 24 hours a week in front of their TV or computer.
At Essex University, researchers carried out fitness tests on 600 10-year-olds a decade apart to see how fitness levels have changed. The main result was that fitness levels had dropped significantly, concluding that an average 10-year-old in 1998 could beat 95% of youngsters in 2008 in running tests.
The researchers stated that there was so much media focus on obesity, that the health risks of poor fitness levels across all children has been obscured. Children are now weighed and measured at school; however, on the whole, there is no equivalent measurement for fitness. The researchers chose children from an affluent town that had a low level of obesity to show the shift in fitness levels. According to previous testings on the subject, it is likely that testing fitness levels in less affluent areas would show even lower levels.
A-life would like to add that being overweight does not necessarily equate to poor fitness levels. We have found that thousands of average-sized children we have taught have been extremely unfit and many obese or overweight children actually had much higher fitness levels than their thinner class mates. Weight does not necessarily indicate if an individual is fit or unfit, however, often people that are obese find exercise more effort than someone carrying less weight.
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said: “We have been concerned about the sedentary lifestyles of children for some time. But the focus on obesity is right at the moment because it is more directly linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”
Many children have mentioned to the A-life coaches about using their Wii fit computers to keep them fit. We think these games are brilliant for children that have no garden or access to playing areas, as they are a safe and fun form of activity. However, we find many children spend so long practicing and playing on these virtual reality games that they lack basic skills when it comes to the real thing. For example, during our A-life fitness sessions we often use hula hoops to practice co-ordination and many children find it very difficult to keep the hoop up, despite being able to do it for hours on their Wii fit. It’s the same with football and other sports. A-life feel that these virtual reality games should be used to supplement exercise at home and as an extra facility but not to replace the real thing. We suggest limiting computer games and TV until after exercise has been carried out after school.
A-life is a leading provider of:
- Healthy Workshops
- Fun Fitness
- Alcohol & Drug Awareness
- Staff PE Training
A-life bring the primary school curriculum to life with hands-on activities that are accessible for all ages and abilities and have been carefully designed to meet many objectives in the Science, PE and PSHE curriculum. With 12 years’ experience and expert coaches, we receive outstanding feedback from staff and pupils alike.Perfect for your Health Week, A-life workshops are packed full of curriculum and fun and provide excellent value for money with prices from as little as £1.65 per pupil.