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The problem with lazy Summer Holidays

In UK only 10 per cent of children start primary school obese and most toddlers (84 per cent) are unable to manage one full hour of physical activity. The rising epidemic of obesity in children is connected to the fact that children are less active in holidays than term time. The research of UK Active has shown results clearly pointing to the downfall of fitness gains in UK. It tells us how most children in UK are falling into the disease ridden habit of inactivity. The results are disturbing and provide us the bare facts that inactivity leads to lower educational attainment and concentration, and higher risk of adolescent mental health problems.

Lead author Dr Steven Mann, research director at health body UK Active said: “This research shows for the first time that the UK’s youth inactivity pandemic stems from inactive summer holidays.”

Children are left to their own devices and usually provided electronic devices to obsess over. Parents have neglected to provide healthy life styles and this is not a problem of a few families but it is the current living style of most families; also termed as the couch potato lifestyles. Primary school children are not achieving the recommended level of physical activity which is putting their long term health at risk.

Dr. Steven said: “we’re tackling childhood obesity with a PE and sport premium, rather than focusing on activity.”

We need to engage children in fun physical activities, and yet necessarily not in a sporting environment. Parents and teachers need to educate children on the benefits of the recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity and ensure that they achieve it. The government also needs to focus on long delayed childhood obesity strategy and promote physical activity programs such as the Play makers program, daily mile initiative, golden mile initiative etc.

BBC News reported that parents are very unlikely to spot obesity in their own children: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32069699 and often under-estimate the weight of their child.

UK Active recommends that parents be guided about unstructured play in the Early Years, informed of excessive screen-time, and the general mistakes made which lead to inactivity.

All in all we need to step up and take responsibility before UK loses its next generation to obesity.

Bodystat Ltd (IOM)

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