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Jack Shakespeare, Director of Children, Young People, Families and Research at ukactive, said: “We welcome the latest insights from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey on the activity levels of children and young people, which show that out-of-school provision is helping children to be more active.

“ukactive’s members are clearly playing a lead role in delivering out-of-school provision and we remain committed to working side by side with Sport England to make this available to all, regardless of gender, race or affluence.

“While it is positive to learn that activity levels are increasing for some children and young people, it is clear that stark inequalities remain entrenched for many children across the UK.

“It is unacceptable that physical activity levels are lower among girls, children from poorer backgrounds, and those who are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group.

“As we approach the General Election, the next government must make physical activity opportunities for all children and young people an urgent priority, not just for the physical health of the next generation but for their mental and social health too.

“Our research shows that during the summer holidays children’s fitness levels fall by around 74%, and by even more in areas of high deprivation. However, 39% of community sports facilities remain locked behind school gates.

“The Government has a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society and we are calling on all parties to invest in our schools as community hubs model so that providers can host activities and nutritious lunches over the holidays, which can be a particularly tough time for families.”

To find out more about ukactive’s policy calls for the General Election, click here