The Play Providers Association
31 October 2017

APPG calls for Child Obesity Strategy rethink


In a new report, ‘Physical Activity in Early Childhood’, the APPG argues that the Government’s strategy, which was published in August 2016, ignores the ‘vital role’ of
physical activity in tackling what it calls the ‘entrenched national obesity crisis’.

The report by the group of MPs and peers, which is co-chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, says that schemes and finance streams focused solely on improving the nation’s nutrition are not in themselves enough, and that they must go hand-in-hand with the encouragement of physical activity in the pre-pregnancy, antenatal and early childhood periods in order to establish positive behaviour.

The report states, ‘No Child Obesity Strategy succeeds without strong physical activity content, and research finds that physical activity from the earliest days has positive outcomes for emotional, social, academic and cognitive growth as well as bodily health.’
It says another benefit, according to research, is that children with higher physical activity levels in the early years maintain these patterns in later childhood, and cascade them to the next generation.

The APPG goes on to call for the Government to review the role of physical activity in the ‘much heralded’ Child Obesity Strategy, which it says was cut from 60 pages to 13, with many key recommendations axed.

floella-benjaminBaroness Benjamin said, ‘Our report is timely reading in the wake of a Government Childhood Obesity Strategy that has been widely criticised for a disappointing lack of resolve
and ambition.

‘The ethos of our group is that childhood lasts a lifetime and patterns set up in a baby’s very first days can have lasting consequences during the course of a lifespan. It’s not rocket science to say that the UK is in the throes of an obesity epidemic – but at the moment, our Government is not rising to the occasion with all the weapons at its disposal.’

In the report, the group also makes a number of recommendations and draws upon examples of best practice, including existing programmes and initiatives to encourage physical activity, such as those run by Outdoor Play and Learning, as well as training courses for professionals on physical development and activity, such as those delivered by Active Matters.




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