22 September 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Survey: 41% of British kids ‘can’t be bothered’ with sport

September 22, 2010

New research commissioned by the Royal Parks Foundation has revealed that 70% of parents are concerned about their child’s lack of fitness and future health prospects. Just under half of those surveyed (47%) thought that their son or daughter would be unable to run 3km without stopping.  These worrying statistics were released today in the lead up to Pulse3K, a 3km race taking place in Hyde Park on Sunday 10 October aimed at 11-16 year olds.

The research surveyed 1,000 parents of 11-16 year olds across the UK to assess fitness levels of today’s youth and identify the perceived barriers to getting fit.  The study builds on a report from Great Ormond Street Hospital that shows child obesity in Britain has tripled in just 20 years.

The research showed that one in four parents consider their child unfit while 41% stated that their kids have no interest in sport.  The East Midlands came out as the region with the nation’s highest proportion of unfit children, with 30% of parents considering their child unfit.  London and the West Midlands are home to the fittest children in the UK, with 20% of parents describing their children as unfit.

When asked what they thought was behind the problem, just under half of parents blamed social media, mobile phones, computer games and under one third blamed it on a lack of access to sporting facilities.  The study also revealed, however, that parents themselves are failing to lead by example.  Almost half of parents (47%) described their own fitness levels as poor or very poor and 70% thought they were no fitter than their children.

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One in three parents admitted to having no personal interest in sport and fitness themselves and half of those questioned said they probably did not do enough to encourage their children to exercise regularly.

Matt Roberts, celebrity personal trainer, states that the average teenager should be able to run 3km without too much difficulty, commenting; “Exercise makes children brighter, more energized and more responsive.  The fact that so many children are unwilling to do something that should come naturally to them is a sad reflection of the way that parents currently encourage, motivate and inspire their children.”

Sara Lom, Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Foundation echoes Roberts’ concerns but sympathises with parents regarding the difficulty of encouraging children to get involved in sport; “It is important for organisations to help create fun sporting events and initiatives for young people to take part in and help us move away from a nation of ‘ghost kids’ who live a virtual life in front of their TV or computer screens.”

“And, thanks to public and private sector funding from Sportsmatch, Brakes and Haven we’ve been able to create ways for parents to encourage their children to get outdoors and be active. This year, we developed ‘Chips in the Park’, an innovative new hi-tech chip system in Regent’s Park, to help today’s technology loving teenagers train for Pulse3K and get out into the Parks.”

The Royal Parks Foundation is challenging the nation’s youth to run 3km for charity, and get fit together with their friends and family. Registration for Pulse3K is open until the end of next week (24th September) and costs £7 for which participants will receive a free race shirt and a finisher’s medal, plus the opportunity to win top race prizes and pick up loads of goodies! For more information, or to sign up, go to www.pulse3k.com

Kirsty Page, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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