Only one in 40 11-year-olds meets the national target of an hour of physical exercise a day, say researchers. A University of Bath study found that 95 per cent of boys and 99.6 per cent of girls fell short of this time. The Archives of Disease in Childhood study follows a warning that the NHS must do more to counter obesity.
The researchers monitored the physical activity levels of more than 5,500 11-year-olds in the South West of England over seven consecutive days between January 2003 and January 2005. The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has tracked the health of more than 14,000 children since birth.
The researchers were particularly interested in total levels of physical activity and the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise the kids were taking daily.
“It's a worrying fact that children and young people lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and lack physical activity,” said Libby Dowling, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.
“This, in conjunction with diets that are high in fat, salt and sugar, is directly linked to rising levels of obesity and the increase of Type 2 diabetes in younger people.
“If we don't put the emphasis back on exercise and healthy lifestyle, children and young people in the UK may face a lifetime of ill health."