Physical activity contributes to good physical and mental development. It has a wide range of physical and emotional benefits, from developing strength, increasing concentration and educational performance and learning, to boosting mood and reducing the risk of many lifestyle-related diseases.
“Being active plays a key role in brain development in early childhood and is also good for longer-term educational attainment.” Public Health England (2014)
The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) have set out physical activity guidelines for children and young people, drawn from global evidence, to ensure they access all the benefits listed above.
These guidelines state that primary school aged pupils should participate in an average of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Yet, the latest data shows that less than half (47%) of children and young people in Sussex hit this target. In England, more than 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they begin school, with that rising to 1 in 3 children by the time they leave primary school.
In addition to high quality PE lessons and extra-curricular clubs, there are several ways that schools can look to promote physical activity throughout the school day and ensure pupils reap the benefits of being active.