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SEPTEMBER 11 LETTERS write to reply


Do you have a strong opinion or disagree with somebody else’s views on the industry? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com


children’s fi tness – let’s keep it simple I read with interest your Talkback feature on kids’ fitness (HCM July 11, p26). This topic is very close to my heart. The key to engaging children in


activity, and then keeping them engaged, seems to remain a mystery to many people. There have been many initiatives, products and services that have tried and failed to make a big impact on childhood obesity levels, and it is for this reason that I think children’s fitness has dropped off most people’s radar. It’s my belief that many people have over-complicated and confused the issue by bringing out new initiatives too often. Children will remain active as adults if


The onus is on all of us to keep kids’ fi tness and child obesity on the agenda


collaborative approach needed to address child obesity


Kids’ fitness is a low priority on the political agenda, but it has not yet dropped off (ref HCM July, p26). Look at the resurrection of the Youth Sports Trust and other, largely school and social, environmental or Olympic policy- related activities and funding streams. The same cannot be said of child


obesity. Despite the fact that one-third of our children are overweight or obese, policies and funding continue to focus on unproven prevention of further obesity, rather than proven treatment of those who are already overweight or obese. The fitness industry is well placed to


tackle both child obesity and fitness. The FIA is fighting a good fight, particularly through the Responsibility Deal and other policy involvement; four leading organisations, including MEND and the FIA, recently submitted a proposal to the Department of Health showing how the fitness industry, with suitable training and support, could be an extremely cost-effective and scalable delivery arm


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for child obesity and fitness initiatives. But the fitness industry could be more effective if we all work collaboratively. From April 2013, many public health


initiatives will be delivered by local authorities, which have clearer links to community fitness than their health counterparts. Change4Life is also continuing and provides an opportunity for innovative partnership working. Over the next two to three years, however, NHS leadership and senior politicians believe that ‘non-core’ activities, including fitness and child obesity, will attract very little or no central health funding, and that many local health authorities will reduce or eliminate their spending in these areas. The onus is on all of us, individually and


collectively through the FIA, to fight to keep kids’ fitness and child obesity on the policy and funding agenda – ideally moving up it – so kids get the support they need to live fitter, healthier, happier lives. harry macmillan ceo, mend


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


they associate activity with fun – but many kids become disinterested in being active at a very young age, because coaches and teachers do not have the skills or training to be able to engage them. We must go back to basics, engaging


children at a young age by adopting a simple, achievable and sustainable (SAS) approach to a healthy lifestyle. SAS advice on daily habit changes for both families and children is the first step, helping them to understand what’s required to make a difference – whether to lose weight or get fitter. The goals must be achievable and, most importantly, sustainable. dean horridge founder and ceo, fi t for sport


We need to go back to basics and engage children early, says Horridge


september 2011 © cybertrek 2011


SEPTEMBER 2011


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