Young people * Healthy living * Weight loss

UK children not exercising enough

children prefere texting to exercise Happier texting or logging on

Only one in eight UK children get the recommended 60 minutes exercise a day, according to a survey released today by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The survey also found that:

  • 1 in 3 children exercise for less than an hour a week
  • 78% of children did not know the recommended daily amount of exercise
  • 30% admitted they "can't be bothered" to exercise
  • 1 in 5 children considered exercise to be a "chore"

Over half of the children surveyed claimed to spend more than a hour each day texting or chatting on websites such as Facebook and MySpace.

This is despite the fact that recent research has predicted if current trends continue, two thirds of all children will be overweight or obese by 2050.

Former Olympic sprinting champion Sally Gunnell expressed her concern about the results: "As a mum, I know how children can benefit from being active. It's something that all children should enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle and is also a great way to socialise with friends."

Dr Mike Knapton, BHF Director of Prevention and Care, said: "We have a generation of kids growing up who have a shockingly blasé attitude towards exercise and being active."

To counter this trend, the BHF is launching an "Ultimate Dodgeball" fund-raising event for young people to encourage them to become active.

Dr Knapton explained: "Ultimate Dodgeball is a great way to get children interested in sport and physical activity - young people need to switch off their square eyes and get in the habit of exercising now."

The BHF is also relaunching its Yoobot web site which is designed to help young people make better choices about the food they eat.

The survey is part of the BHF's Food4Thought campaign.

More information

This article was published on Mon 28 September 2009

Image © sonya etchison -

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