A study, recently published in the BMJ Open Journal, assessed the activity levels of over 7000 children between May 2008 and August 2009. They found that nearly half of all seven-year-olds remain inactive for between six and seven hours every day - far too little to remain healthy. The figures also revealed a staggering difference between boys and girls, with only 4 in 10 girls achieving the recommended hour or more per day of activity, compared with over 6 in 10 boys.
These figures are worrying - nearly a third of all children in the UK, aged between 2 and 15, are overweight and nearly 20% are believed to obese. These overweight children are likely to continue to be overweight into adulthood, with a predicted 50% of the UK population obese by 2030, and 3 in 4 adults predicted to be suffering from weight-related illnesses e.g. diabetes and heart disease, within the next two decades. Obviously, exercise levels alone are not only responsible for maintaining a healthy weight - diet also plays a huge part.
However, it is worrying that the kids of today aren't running about and playing - surely that is what childhood is all about?! So, set a good example and head out there, drag the kids off the sofa and away from their smart-phones and playstations. Take the dog for a walk, head to the beach, throw a frisbee - anything! It's good for the heart, and even better, good for the soul. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face as well as a spring in your step.
NB For those without children - head out there anyway - we're all just big kids after all.