Inactive children in Slough need more support after shock figures

From the Slough Observer:

SHOCK figures have revealed children in the town are among the least active in the country and do not get enough exercise.

The number of Slough young people participating in three hours of sport each week is ‘significantly worse’ than the national average of 55.1% at just 42.5%.

The figure is only 1.6% more than the worst authority in the country – putting Slough in the bottom 5% nationally.

The Department of Health (DoH) figures also revealed that in Slough more than one-in-five children aged 10-11 and one-in-nine aged four to five are obese.

Shabir Fazil, founder of Slough-based sports charity The Light UK, said: “For about six years it [participation in sport] has definitely got a lot worse, and you can see how it’s affecting youngpeople’s health – health is in decline.

“We’ve got grassroots organisations who have got a lot of contact with the young people, and its those that need to be supported to get young people engaged.

“It’s all about partnership working and the local authority has definitely got the right ideas.”

A Slough Borough Council spokeswoman said: “It’s unclear why these figures are so high as you’re speculating about the reasons people don’t exercise.”

She added: “Slough is already engaged in a comprehensive physical activity programme which includes work underway in our play, parks and travel strategies.

“The council is also in the process of developing a sports facilities strategy which will set out proposals for sports and leisure facilities in Slough over the next 10 years, with the aim of providing the right facilities in the right places to achieve the council’s vision for sport and physical activity.”

The obesity figures in the DoH’s child health profiles are more than 2% above the national average – putting Slough in the top 30% nationally for child obesity.

Anna Wright, leader of Slough Conservatives, has renewed her call to stop hot food takeaways from opening within 500 metres of schools – a motion she proposed in November last year, which was approved with an amendment.

Councillor Wright said: “It’s about reducing the possibility of eating more food than they need to.

“But you can’t force children or teenagers to exercise more. Nowadays, children do prefer to play on the computer.”

Fellow Conservative Wayne Strutton added: “This is down to the headteachers and school governors – we as a council can only encourage more sport.

“It’s more down to the schools themselves, but we should be working harder to encourage more sport. It’s something that is a concern.”

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