Tuesday 3 January 2017

In Britain: Poor Kids Are At Health Risk Than The Richest


In Britain poorer kids’ fitness levels plummet 18 times faster than rich youngsters over the school holidays, shocking research reveals.

It shows deprived youngsters are being left to “fend on the couch” – putting their health at risk.

Experts warn more must be done to tackle Britain’s “physical inactivity epidemic”.

Researchers previously found children are much more active throughout the school year.

But their fitness plummets during the six-week summer break as millions stay inside watching TV and playing on computers.

Now a new report shows poorer Brits are much more likely to suffer.

Experts fear they are being “plonked in front of the TV” while better off youngsters enjoy trips and holiday camps.

The damning findings come as council spending on parks has plummeted by 15 per cent in the last two years.

And the total number of swimming pools in Britain has also fallen by 26 in past year.

Campaigners are calling for cash from George Osborne’s sugar tax to help poorer kids get more exercise.

Researchers looked at more than 400 children attending 13 primary schools.

During term time, all kids regardless of their background had similar energy levels, thanks to PE lessons and walking to the school-gate.

But by September, fitness readings among well off youngsters fell by 32 per cent.

In contrast, the fall was a staggering 587 per cent among the most deprived kids – more than 18 times greater.

Steven Mann, ukactive Research Director, said: “Our research with Premier Sport suggests deprived children are being plonked in front of the TV for hours on end, while their more affluent peers are able to stay active at Summer camps.

“The fitness levels of the most deprived are plummeting during summer holidays compared to their more affluent peers.

“This means they are able to run far shorter distances in September than they can in June.

“There’s a gaping class chasm around fitness levels and the government must urgently bridge this gap to get to grips with Britain’s physical inactivity epidemic.

“Money from the Sugar Levy should be used beyond the school gates to ensure all children can access physical activity and pick up vital healthy habits from an early age.”

The report’s findings have yet to be published.

One in three kids leaves primary school too fat, with obese children five times more likely to grow into obese adults.

Being too heavy increases the chances of type 2 diabetes, heart, liver disease and several common cancers.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “These figures are lamentable.

“The real problem is that councils have been starved of funds which they desperately need to offer even the basics, such as parks and safe open spaces for children to run around.

“And it is the poorest that are worst off.

“Parents are also using the TV as a babysitter and that is clearly bad for their long-term health.”



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