A parliamentary report has found that children have become so inactive that they may have a shorter lifespan.
It stated that about 50% of seven-year-olds do not do regular exercise. It has issued a warning that the lack of physical activity is a habit that is established during childhood and could be responsible for about one in every five premature deaths.
The report asked for a government-funded programme which would encourage children to get involved in sport, playing outdoors, cycling or walking. The main aim of the programme would be to encourage them to continue physical activity for the rest of their lives.
The report was prompted by a group of evidence sessions which were conducted by parliamentarians who were led by the former Paralympic racer, Baroness Grey-Thompson. It indicated that over the past five decades, the level of activity undertaken by Britons has declined by around 20%. The report stated that the level of inactivity is more than likely set to increase and funded campaigns should be used to encourage more exercise.
One of the main supporters of the group, Lord Coe, said that there were not many people who were aware that a lack of physical activity is responsible for one fifth of the UK’s premature deaths. He said that with projected figures indicating that levels of inactivity are set to increase by around 15% by 2030,there is no doubt that this situation needs immediate attention and action.
Lord Coe further stated that this report shows a positive shift in how corporations, NHBs, the civil sector and governments can work hand-in-hand in shaping the perception of physical activity and sport globally.
The report further stated that a public health campaign should be introduced to concentrate on showing people the benefits they can derive from getting out of their armchairs and getting exercise. It asked for a measurement set to be produced which would indicate to people if they are getting sufficient exercise.
The report stated that there should be encouragement to for physical activity both at home and at work. It asked for more people to be pushed into walking or cycling to their place of business.
The promotion of sport, outdoor play and physical education among children will aid in making this type of physical activity a lifelong habit.
The report indicated that illnesses caused by a lack of physical activity costs the British economy a staggering £20 billion annually.
Image credit: Vladimir Yaitskiy