ukactive ‘Generation Inactive’ session fuels ambition for change in activity policy

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14 November 2014

ukactive 'Generation Inactive' session fuels ambition for change in activity policy

ukactive's National Summit in central London on the 13th of November ushered in a mood of change for children's physical activity policy in the UK.

The session, titled 'generation inactive' focused around the issue of the least active generation of British children in history and announced tangible policy changes which could lead to a shake-up of the traditional delivery of physical activity in schools.

Session chair Dean Horridge told delegates that 'radical change' was needed to address the inadequacies with the current policy landscape when it came to children's physical activity.

In light of continued government investment by way of the Schools Sport Premium, there has been a continuing decline in the fitness levels of UK children.

Horridge, who also chairs Compass, who are in collaboration with ukactive, said:

"We need a robust national benchmark for children's activity - it is unacceptable that we have no idea about our children's physical literacy - we would not accept this with maths or English, nor should we accept it with physical activity."

This year's merger of Compass, the association of children's activity providers, and ukactive, the not-for-profit health body, has seen an increased focus on the area of children's physical activity from ukactive.

Horridge also noted that schools should be encouraged to 'prove their effectiveness' in terms of the School Sport Premium and that the premium itself 'should be re-named to the Physical Activity Premium to encompass all forms of physical activity, not just sport.'

Children's fitness expert Dr Gavin Sandercock, who was on the panel, outlined the poor fitness levels of this generations' children, highlighting that 'the least fit child in a class of 30 from 1998 would be of 'average' fitness in 2008' and the worrying fact that since the 2012 London Olympics there has actually been a decline in Children's maximum running speed.

Eustace De Souza, Public Health England's National lead for Children, explained that the issue was around 'lifestyle behaviours' set at home. "We know there is a greater chance of a child being inactive if their parents are inactive."

The session drew delegates from across the Summit for this key issue, which had been highlighted earlier in the day by Baroness Tani-Grey Thompson who said:

"The government 'gets it' more than in the past, but we've got to be stronger in how we look at these issues; it goes back to fundamental points such as teacher training in Primary Schools."

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