Babies and children * Young people * Weight loss

Parents unaware of children's lack of exercise

Zone default image Only 10% do an hour a day

Parents are stuck in a "reality gap" when it comes to how much exercise their children are doing, according to a new survey.

The survey by the British Heart Foundation found that while 71% of parents think their children are "active enough," barely one in ten (11%) were doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical exercise per day.

The heart charity released the findings at the same time as its Couch Kids Report. While the number of obese children has risen since the mid-1990s, no major changes in children’s physical activity levels have occurred over the last decade, said the BHF.

Currently, around a third of young people in the UK are overweight or obese.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: "Mums and dads need to take off the blinkers about how active kids need to be in order to keep their hearts healthy.

"Kids need to get moving more, yet we’ve been standing still for the last decade. Children aren’t really any more active than they were ten years ago.

"Parents have such an important role in helping and encouraging their kids to be more active by building exercise into their every day lives - whether that’s taking part in team sports, playing outside with their friends or walking to school."

This UK-wide report pulls together research from a number of sources to provide a clear picture of the level of childhood obesity, how active children are, barriers that stop them, and makes recommendations on tackling the problem.

Dr. Knapton added: "Local authorities need to feature public health more strongly in transport, planning and education policies.

"One example would be through recognising the importance of safe cycling routes and making sure children have interesting places to play."

This article was published on Mon 23 November 2009

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