Almost a third of children in Wales don't get enough exercise every day

Posted
Mon, 09/04/2017 - 9:06am
Last updated
3 weeks ago
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Playing outdoor is fun & healthy
Health experts fear many under fives are not getting the outdoor play they need to stay healthy

Thousands of children under the age of five are not getting enough exercise time outdoors, a new report has warned.

Health experts recommended that young children should be given at least three hours of active play per day.

But according to a new survey by Public Health Wales 29% of children in this age group are not reaching their daily quota.

It is thought a lack of suitable outdoor space is a key contributor to the low levels of exercise.

Dr Julie Bishop, director of health improvement for Public Health Wales, said being active outside helps children develop both mentally and emotionally.

“Playing outdoors every day is a great way to help your child grow into a fit and healthy adult and will encourage them to stay active beyond their childhood.

“Time outside is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your child as well as being a great stress reliever from the busy life of a parent.”

The survey was carried out earlier this year as part of Every Child Wales, Public Health Wales’ new programme to improve the health and wellbeing of children under five

A total of 1,503 telephone interviews were carried out with parents and carers of children from birth to five in Wales between April 11 and June 6, 2017.

Experts say children who are active and play from a young age are more likely to be active as they get older and more likely to be a healthy weight.

Marianne Mannello, Play Wales’ assistant director said: “There is increasing concern about the mental and physical health of children and young people.

“Research suggests that given the opportunity, children get wide-ranging exercise as well as a significant mental health benefits from freely chosen play.

“Children start their active lives through play. When given the opportunity to play, children are likely to be physically active by running, jumping, dancing, climbing, digging, lifting, pushing and pulling.

“For children, play can also be fun and relaxing, a way of relieving or having time away from anxiety and stress.”

Marianne added: “Playing is a vital dimension of a happy and healthy childhood.

“It contributes to the wellbeing and resilience of human beings – particularly children.

“Having welcoming places, enough time and the company of others to play with every day is of great consequence to all children and young people – as adults we need to foster environments that support this.”

The Every Child Wales website has helpful tips for parents to support children’s play and information about the physical and mental benefits of playing.

It also has advice for “playful parenting” as well as addressing parental concerns about playing outdoors.

For further information, and ideas for outdoor play with your under-five and the whole family, visit www.everychildwales.co.uk

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