Primary children fail fitness tests
Two-thirds of primary school-age children are falling below the recommended levels of fitness for their age group, research has warned.
A study of 10,000 5 to 11-year-olds found that 67% were unable to reach targets in jumping, running and throwing - while a quarter (24%) fell "significantly" below recommended levels, indicating that fitness is a cause for concern.
Fit For Sport, which conducted the tests, said the results show that parents and schools must do more to increase children's activity levels to ensure they stay healthy.
The youngsters were assessed by carrying out the Activity Challenge - a series of tests created to assess various factors of fitness including stamina, agility, co-ordination and cardiovascular endurance, to give a good indication of fitness and physical literacy.
It found that only just over a third (36%) of 5 to 7-year-olds were at an adequate level of fitness, falling to 32% and 33% for 8-9 and 10-11-year-olds respectively.
Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend that children spend 60 minutes a day being physically active - yet only 21% of boys and 16% of girls achieve this.
The lowest results were recorded in running challenges that test cardiovascular endurance, indicating that not only are many children getting too little physical activity, they are also failing to spend enough time doing vigorous intensity activity where they are out of breath and their heart rate increases.
Fit For Sport founder Dean Horridge said: "Parents know how well their children perform academically, but they often have no idea how fit their kids are.
"Two-thirds of the 10,000 children we tested were unable to meet achievable levels of fitness, like completing 60 star jumps in one minute.
"This is a clear call to action: physical inactivity is a ticking time bomb for the UK's health and both parents and schools must make sure children are spending enough time being active to improve their fitness and health levels now, and set them off on a journey to an active life."
Fit For Sport has created a free online portal where parents can complete the Activity Challenge with their own children and log on to submit scores and compare children's results with the recommended levels - www.activitychallenge.co.uk.