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Why have children stopped moving?

Guest blog post by Chris Wright, Youth Sport Trust.

With increasing changes to lifestyle and new social norms around being sedentary becoming widespread, we now have children dying 5 years earlier than the previous generation due to inactivity.

Children are spending more time sitting down or not moving at a higher frequency than ever before. Prolonged periods sat down actually starts the ageing process early in children as young as the age of 6, hardening the arteries and creating inflammation in the system so why do we not help them move more?

We need to create a new norm for children. We must incorporate physical activity and a love of moving and play into children’s everyday lives using the natural and built environment. We need policy makers, parents and practitioners to help make a change… to give every child the HUMAN RIGHT TO MOVE!

It should be an entitlement for very child to be active, to have fun and enjoyment through movement. It is vital for their cognitive and psycho-social development and much of their influence starts at school. It starts with an early confidence and competence to move and making sure every child is included. It is about school and community partners coming together to maximise resource, intelligence and practice and creating the active day from the moment a child gets out of bed to when they hit the pillow. It is about ensuring movement and reduce sitting time is part of the fabric of the school day and not just restricted to physical education or sport sessions.

Why do we, as adults, parents and carers spend all of our time restricting children’s movement? Whether that is placing young children in pushchairs to car seats to high chairs (without their feet even touching the ground); to the inherent fear of the safety for their child and restricting their scope of play around the home or the school grounds… children’s movement is constantly constrained.

“Don’t go outside, it is raining and you might slip and get wet.” Really? Are we so concerned with health and safety and a few children getting wet that we are prepared to take a risk with their future health?

Let them go out and explore. Let them get muddy. Let them take risks and learn from their actions. Let them make friends and socialise. Let them relieve stress and expend energy for their physical and emotional wellbeing. Let them have fun. Let’s give them the human right to move!!

Chris Wright will moderate the Active School Communities: Ready to MOVE track at the MOVE Congress on 6 October 2017.

Registration is still open!

Photo by Matt Design, Flickr

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