Three quarters of children are not doing enough physical activity

23 September 2015        

Tesco - Beat the Street New research into child activity rates reveals parents are unaware of how much activity their child should be doing to stay healthy. 

The new research into child activity rates in the UK has found that over 77% of children are doing no more than four hours of out of school exercise each week. 

The problem is far worse amongst poorer families, with around nine in 10 children in low income households doing even less.

The survey of over 2,000 parents, funded by us, Diabetes UK and Tesco, also revealed;

  • 85% of parents didn't know how much exercise their children should be doing.
  • 75% of parents underestimate the amount of exercise their child needs, believing they only need around 30 minutes a day. 
  • 26% of parents believe their child is only doing a maximum of 50 minutes of activity a week in school.
  • 41% think they get a maximum of 100 minutes per week, meaning children are falling well below the recommended guidelines of physical activity.

Keeping Active

According to Public Health England "all children and young people (aged 5 to 18) should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day". 

Over a quarter of parents say their child does no more than an hour a week, with almost one in six saying they do none at all, putting them at increased risk of being overweight and developing serious long term health conditions in the future, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Parents stated cost to be the biggest barrier to their children doing more exercise outside of school. 

Over a third of parents believe the responsibility to ensure children get enough exercise lies with their children’s school.

Catherine Kelly, our Director of Prevention, Survival and Support, explains; "Being inactive can lead to a multitude of health problems for children, including an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life. The benefits of physical activity outside of the classroom and within the community are vast, and as well as benefitting their heart health, it’s fun too!

"That’s why we are working with Diabetes UK and Tesco to deliver projects in areas most at need across the UK."

Beat the Street

The first of these Partnership funded projects includes Beat the Street, launching in East London. Over the next eight weeks, 30,000 families will take part in a real-life game where they will collectively walk, cycle or run the equivalent distance of going to outer space. By getting children inspired to take up the challenge of going on a race to space, the free Beat the Street game will increase their level of physical activity so it becomes an everyday pattern of behaviour to take into the future.