Parents tell porkies so kids can skip exercise, reveals new survey


London: The average child spends over 3½ hours a day watching TV but less than 3½ hours a week exercising according to research out today. The findings show that activities taken outside of school have declined by 41% in a single generation with virtual activities replacing real life activity for many kids. This issue isn’t helped by the fact that almost a quarter of the parents polled admitted to having written a ‘false sick note’ to allow their child to skip PE in school.

Dame Kelly Holmes Comments: “I’m deeply alarmed but not surprised at the news that today’s children are doing a lot less exercise than their parents did. There’s no doubt modern life is limiting the amount they do – whether it’s because of lifts to school or use of technology. Our kids need to learn the importance of exercise in leading fulfilling and healthy lives. They need to get up off the sofa.”

The national activity audit has been released to mark the launch of this year’s Sainsbury’s Active Kids initiative which is being led by double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes. Launched three years ago, the Sainsbury’s Active Kids voucher programme has already generated £50 million in investment in sporting equipment for UK schools.

One in 20 children do no exercise at all outside school, which rises to nearly one in 10 in girls. London children are the worst when it comes to skipping exercise with 17% claiming to be completely inactive outside school. Urban children are more likely to blame a lack of local resources for their sofa habit with kids from Birmingham, Manchester, and Newcastle stating they had “nowhere to go.”

Dame Kelly Holmes further comments: “Schools are doing a great job in promoting sports, but it is essential that children do activity after school and at home as well. What troubles me about these findings is that so many are spending too much time lying around rather than getting out and about learning new skills and having fun.”

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