Express & Star

Around 60,000 children 'fail to exercise enough'

Stark figures reveal children in some parts of the Black Country and Staffordshire are among the least active in the entire country, according to new research.

Urgent pleads have been made to make children more active to fight off obesity

Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People survey reveals an estimated 17,500 youngsters aged between five and 16 do less than half an hour of exercise a day in Wolverhampton.

The Chief Medical Officer's guidelines state that children should get at least an hour of physical activity every day of the week – but 91 per cent of five to 16-year-olds in Wolverhampton fail to hit this target.

It puts the city bottom of the pile for exercise, and comes despite a long-running battle to combat childhood obesity.

In Sandwell around two-fifths of children do less than half an hour of physical activity a day, while in Dudley it was around a quarter and in Walsall it was one third.

Across the Black Country just under 60,000 youngsters were said to not get enough exercise.

The research, which is based on responses from more than 100,000 five to 16-year-olds, said 36,700 children in Staffordshire do less than 30 minutes of exercise a day on average.

It found that 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".

He said: “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.”

Sports Minister Mims Davies said that the number of young people not doing enough exercise is "simply unacceptable".

She said: "We know that an active child is a happier child, and efforts must be stepped up to encourage young people to live healthy, active lives.

"I know that Sport England are committed to making progress in this area, and our School Sport and Activity Action Plan will also ensure that all children have access to quality PE, sport sessions and clubs.

Government guidelines state that children and young people should get half their daily hour of physical activity at school, and half out of school.