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Youth Sports Trust launches National School Sports Week

A new survey has revealed that almost half of all parents questioned believe children aged 5-18 should be active for 30 minutes or less a day, which is less than half of the UK Chief Medical Officer’s recommended guidance of 60 minutes a day.

Research by YouGov commissioned by children’s charity Youth Sport Trust showed that only 43% of parents surveyed believe children should be active for at least 60 minutes every day. 

This follows on from the Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey (2021-22), which revealed that less than half of all young people in the UK are active for an hour a day, and 30% average fewer than 30 minutes.

The Youth Sport Trust thinks that low awareness of the recommendation is contributing to low activity levels amongst children.

Further research by Teacher Tapp commissioned by the Youth Sport Trust found only 35% of teachers are aware children should be active for 60 or more minutes day, highlighting the need for more sport and training for schools and teachers.

97% of teachers are ‘concerned’ about the mental health of young people in their school, and 97% similarly agree that sports and play can support mental health.

To drive up awareness of the Chief Medical Officers’ guidance, Youth Sport Trust is launching its annual National Sports Week campaign, powered by Sports Direct, to get more children ‘playing for fun, playing for 60’ between 19 and 25 June. 

The aim of the week is to boost children’s activity levels by encouraging people and organisations to make a #PledgeToPlay for 60 minutes every day during this week.

The campaign will work with families, schools and across society to ensure that people are better informed about the benefits of sport and play for their children.

Deadly 60 and wildlife presenter, Steve Backshall, has made a pledge to keep active with his family.

Last year, schools taking part in National School Sports Week provided more than 650,000 young people with opportunities to be involved in PE, play and sport. 

Alison Oliver MBE, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust said: “We know children are leading increasingly sedentary lives. Screen time is up, and time spent in nature is down – it’s no surprise that parents and teachers are increasingly concerned about children’s physical activity levels and the consequence of this in the classroom. 

“Children’s formative years can influence their wellbeing, development, education outcomes and physical activity levels well into adulthood. There is a compelling evidence base for more play and sport in children’s lives. 

“Pockets of innovative practice which are unlocking new ways to inspire young people to get active are emerging, but a priority has to be raising public awareness of the CMO guidance should be a priority alongside action to help schools and families respond. 

“Today we issue a rallying call. Daily physical activity, play and the development of physical literacy through physical education and school sport should be an integral part of every childhood, and we are really excited to work with Sports Direct to make play and sport more accessible for more young people and in turn help them lead happier and healthier lives.”

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