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research round-up
reality gap
Seven out of 10 parents think
their child takes plenty of
exercise, but research from
the British Heart Foundation
suggests otherwise
P
arents have been told to
“take off their blinkers” over
how active their children are.
A British Heart Foundation
(BHF) survey among 940 UK parents of
eight- to 15-year-olds found that 71 per
cent of them think their kids are “active
enough” – yet in truth, only 11 per cent
are doing the recommended 60 minutes USS
of physical activity a day.
a sedentary lifestyle
The BHF parent survey coincides with
.COM/KEVIN R
T
O
the launch of Couch Kids – a more
in-depth BHF report into children’s
physical activity levels in the UK.
OCKPHO
The recommended daily 60-minute
© IST
workout should be of moderate intensity Drive participation by promoting exercise as a chance to have fun with friends
and encompass activities such as brisk
walking, swimming, cycling, PE, dancing while physical activity only accounted for a choice of varied activities and placing
and most sports. However, based on 44.2 minutes and 53 minutes respectively. an emphasis on fun and enjoyment are
evidence gathered from National Health Couch Kids points out that some all key recommendations from Couch
Surveys, the Couch Kids report shows valuable sedentary activities – such as Kids. The report identified aspects of
there’s still a large number of young listening to music, spending time with physical activity that children value as:
people in England and Scotland – 30 per friends, homework and reading – take • having a choice of exercise opportunities
cent of boys and 40 per cent of girls up a “substantial percentage of young • activity as a means of having fun and
– who are not meeting the suggested people’s free time”. However, it’s hardly spending time with friends
physical activity guidelines. These levels surprising that watching TV, playing • a sense of belonging (team sports)
are significantly worse in Wales and computer games and social networking • enjoying competition
Northern Ireland and are especially bad take up the majority of time given the • feelings of achievement
in adolescent girls: only 9 per cent of fact that 80 per cent of 15- to 16-year- Girls in particular like to keep ‘fi t
15-year-old girls in England, Scotland and olds have their own TV, 70 per cent have and healthy’ and be in good shape,
Wales reach the recommended target. their own DVD player and nearly all while older children see exercise as
This is compounded by the increasing have a computer at home. a way of “relaxing, forgetting their
amount of time that young people are troubles and relieving stress”.
spending being sedentary, which could how can we motivate them? Family life and parental support are
impact on their health regardless of how Luckily it’s not all bad news. One survey also important factors. Parents can help
much exercise they get. The pattern found that 61 per cent of boys and 74 to create opportunities for activity and
starts at a very young age, with the per cent of girls aged 11–15 would like give fi nancial back-up, as well as providing
median time spent in sedentary behaviour to do more physical activity – a transport and general encouragement. It
recorded at 79 per cent of monitored particularly encouraging finding given helps if they’re active themselves, with a
hours for three-year-olds. Meanwhile, the general trend towards inactivity positive attitude towards activity.
among 14-year-old girls, one study among teenage girls. In addition, there was a call for
revealed that the five top sedentary So what motivates young people to be more extra-curricular opportunities
activities took up 4.38 hours per week active? Empowering them by asking in schools, and making school facilities
day and 6.66 hours per weekend day, them what they want to do, giving them more accessible outside lesson times.
38 Read Health Club Management online february 2010 © cybertrek 2010
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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