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Active, healthy lifestyles
Active, healthy lifestyles

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4 Encouraging physical activity

The proportion of children who were active for 60 or more minutes in 7 days in the last week was calculated. Overall, a higher proportion of boys than girls achieved the recommended levels – 70% of boys compared with 61% of girls. Among boys, the proportion active for at least 60 minutes on 7 days did not vary markedly with age. In contrast, levels of physical activity among girls declined from about age 11.

(Source: Sproston, K. and Primatesta, P. (Eds) (2003))

How can the PE profession ensure that school physical education effectively contributes to this aspect of public health?

‘Although there is no proven strong link between the quantity of physical activity undertaken by an individual in childhood with that taken in adulthood, there are stronger associations between physical activity in childhood and physical activity in adulthood when the quality of the physical activity experience in childhood, rather than simply the quantity, is taken into account. In addition, there is evidence to show that, by the time young people leave secondary school, their attitudes to sport and exercise and their level of perceived ability are highly predictive of whether or not they are physically active as adults.’

(Department of Health, Chief Medical Officer, At least five a week: Evidence of the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health, April 2004.)

It is therefore important that curricular practices and policies in schools effectively promote active, healthy lifestyles amongst young people. Activities 4a and 4b look at resources and case studies which you might find helpful when planning this area of your PE programme.

Activity 4

Browse through some online material about physical activity. Note down your thoughts on the attitudes and advice you find regarding physical activity. Here are some sites that may help:

Association for Physical Education [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Sport England research on PE in schools

  • Are the same kinds of message delivered as part of your school's PE and/or PSHE curriculum?

  • How might you go about incorporating them into your school's curriculum?

  • Have you found anything which you could use in your lessons?

  • How effective do you think these sites would be at stimulating discussion with your students?

With your notes and knowledge of your own school, gather some colleagues and discuss your ideas for increasing physical activity in your school. You might want to present your ideas to a school staff meeting or governors’ meeting.