Parents overestimate how much their child exercises

Children are only physically active for half the amount of time the Government suggests they should be, says new study

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Children only do physical exercise for 33 minutes a day, which is half of the Government-recommended hour a day, according to a study published to coincide with National Childhood Obesity Week. Also, parents are vastly overestimating how active their kids are.

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Results, from the study by Change4Life and healthy lifestyle programme provider MEND, revealed that on average children spent 67 minutes watching TV, 21 minutes playing computer games and 17 minutes surfing the Internet a day. However, parents believed their children averaged 271 active minutes a day, which is actually eight times the real amount. This number increased to 295 minutes as parents thought their kids were more active during the summer months.

“If we are going to turn around the life chances of our children, its important parents understand why being the right weight matters so much for their children. Children who are overweight could face serious health problems later in life. These problems impact hugely on a person’s quality of life,” said Public Health Minister Anne Milton.

“Childhood obesity has become a problem of poverty and what we need is nothing short of a huge sea change. I am calling for a revolution and a national movement to tackle the children’s health problems that Britain is currently facing,” said Diane Abbott, the shadow Public Health Minister, who believes that the UK has a “chips and Playstation 3 culture.”

These findings support a previous Health Survey England, which showed that only a fifth of girls and a third of boys were getting the recommended amount of exercise.

The study, by the University of Worcester, monitored 40 children aged between 9 and 10 years old, from 4 primary schools across the UK.

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