It was previously thought that physical activity in young people started to decline during adolescence, however, a new study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that physical activity levels actually begin to decline by 6-7 years of age. This correlates with children starting school.
With overwhelming evidence of the importance of physical activity for children, this is really a frightening thought.
Why the decline? There are many factors that are contributing to this problem. Top of my list would be screen time. The amount of time that young people (and adults for that matter) are now spending on screens is central to much of the inactivity. If you want to read more about this, get hold of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked Hardcover by Adam Alter. There are some hard hitting and worrying facts and figures in this.
Other factors include our busy lifestyles not allowing time for activity, stretched resources in school and the subsequent impact on PE, working parents meaning that school runs have to be done in the car, fears over safety in letting kids get out and explore independently and also financial pressures.
Physical activity and sport are such a fundamental part of a child’s development for so many reasons. It’s crucial we try and get our children moving! Take a look at a previous blog we wrote with some simple ideas how to achieve this. Childhood is the opportunity for individuals to build habits for a lifetime.