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Children become less physically active as they move through school

Children spend less time doing physical activity as they progress through primary school, research has found.

Children spend less time doing physical activity as they progress through primary school, research has found.


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A team at the University of Bristol tracked the physical activity levels of 1,300 children in year one (five to six years old), over a week using an accelerometer to measure movement.

They then repeated this measurement three years later, finding children spend more time sedentary as they progress from year one to year four (eight to nine years old).

Researchers also found one third of boys and two thirds of girls between eight and nine years old were failing to meet the recommended one hour of daily physical activity.

Lead researcher Russ Jago said: ‘The results show a clear need to find ways to help children to be active throughout the primary school years. We need to get children active and then keep them active as they move through primary school.

‘To help us to do this we need to find the activities that children enjoy and foster as many opportunities in and outside of school to take part in activity across the day.’


Jago R et al (2017) Change in children’s physical activity and sedentary time between Year 1 and Year 4 of primary school in the B-PROACT1V cohort. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0492-0

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