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- 28 August 2013 00:00
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New research has revealed that half of all seven-year-olds do not get enough exercise - and girls are far less active than boys.
A study for the online journal BMJ Open shows that only 51% of all seven-year-olds in the UK achieve the recommended hour of exercise every day, with the figure being just 38% in girls compared with 63% in boys.
Half of this age group is also sedentary for an average of 6.4 hours or more every day, experts found.
Youth Sport Trust chief executive John Steele said that the research was a big concern and called on schools to help address the problem.
"It is always concerning when research suggests that young people are not taking part in enough regular activity," said Steele.
"Physical inactivity is a big challenge to our society and the Youth Sport Trust believes schools play a key role in developing a child’s enjoyment of PE and sport at the earliest possible age.”
"If young people enjoy taking part in physical activity early on they will go on to lead active healthy lifestyles, but if they have a bad experience, particularly at school, they could be put off for life.”
Steele also highlighted the Youth Sport Trust’s commitment towards tackling the problem.
"Working with a range of partners, the Youth Sport Trust is supporting thousands of schools across the country to develop innovative ways to get children more active,” he said.
"Alongside new Government investment into school sport, we hope this will help to address this issue.”