Children exercise less as they get older according to new study

Children exercise less as they get older according to new study

The number of children doing exercise for at least an hour a day drops 40 per cent between the ages of five and 12 years, a new study says.

Public Health England (PHE) conducted a survey looking into the physical activity levels of children, questioning 1,000 children aged five to 11 and 1,000 parents.

While the vast majority of children (93 per cent) said they enjoyed being active, only 28 per cent of children aged five to seven manage to complete at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day, while only 17 per cent of children aged 11 to 12 manage this.

The children said that having friends to join in with, and a greater range of activities they liked to do, were the main motivations for being more active.

79 per cent of parents responded to say that being active made their children feel happier, 72 per cent felt it made them more confident, and 74 per cent thought it made them more sociable.

The PHE survey also discovered that a child’s happiness declines as they get older. 64 per cent of five- and six-year-olds said they were always happy, but only 48 per cent of 11-year-olds said the same.

The figures were released as part of the launch of a new Change4Life campaign in association with Sport England and Disney, which aims to encourage children to copy their favourite Disney character’s 10-minute exercise challenge.

Eustace de Sousa, of PHE, said: “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 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 Childhood Obesity Plan.”

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