What are your memories of playtime at school? Skipping and playing hopscotch, playing tag or even kiss chase. It appears that young children currently going through the school system will have no such memories as it has been found they are hardly doing any physical exercise. But it’s not just about memories, it’s about health.
Am I alone in finding the fact little girls are only getting on average 17 minutes of exercise a day shocking?
Researchers themselves say they had no idea how early on girls became disillusioned about doing any kind of physical activity.
Previously it was believed it was when girls hit their teens that they went off taking part in sport.
Researchers from Newcastle University put monitors on around 500 eight to ten-year-olds to see how much exercise they did in their waking hours and the average was 17 minutes for girls and 24 minutes for boys a day. The recommended amount of exercise per day for children is an hour.
Exercise in this sense includes everything from brisk walking to skipping and running. It’s not just about sports like football and netball.
Currently almost a third of two to 13-year-olds are too heavy for their height. The researchers say children need to make sure they are getting enough exercise a day from a young age to prevent this ticking obesity time bomb from exploding.
They say we are facing a very real situation where the next generation would be the first generation not to live to be as old as their parents.
What has shocked me even more is the comments online in reaction to this research, in particular on the Daily Mail website. The general consensus is that this is just another example of people being ‘told’ what to do. I can only interpret this as people having no idea how serious this problem is.
Even more worrying is these people are the older generation who are allegedly responsible for bringing up and instructing the younger generation. If they are so blasé about the grave problem we are facing, what chance is there?
Changes need to be made. Choice of role models need to alter. Instead of reality TV stars more emphasis needs to be on sports stars, particularly female sports stars. PE lessons need to be given an overhaul to include a range of more appealing activities like dance. Children need to be encouraged to run and skip and play ball games at playtimes. Why isn’t this happening any more? And children need to walk to school. Going back to our grandparents generation, they would walk miles to school and back without a thought.
I just dread how any of this is going to come about when even ‘responsible’ adults are refusing to engage with the severity of the problem.
At this rate the obesity time bomb may be held back just a little by the few willing to change, but really, unless everyone gets on board, the inevitable will only be postponed. That bomb’s going to go off.