Focus on girls in campaign to tackle inactivity

A SCHOOL has helped to launch a new campaign aimed at tackling youth inactivity.

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton has worked with pupils from Handsworth Grange Community Sports College in Sheffield as part of the scheme being launched by health club chain Virgin Active.

The five-year campaign aims to increase the number of young people who regularly exercise.

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New research shows one in five young people go at least a week without “vigorous physical activity, such as running or playing football, outside of school”.

One in eight (13 per cent) admit to rarely exercising in school either and fewer than one in ten young people never undertake any light physical activity outside of school, such as walking to a friend’s house.

Figures for eight to sixteen-year-olds in Yorkshire showed under half said they do heavy exercise outside of school just once a week or less and 20 per cent say they never do any heavy exercise outside of school.

The new campaign aims to get experts from different fields working together to promote exercise. It will focus on girls as research shows that they become increasingly inactive as they enter their teens.

Baroness Sue Campbell, of the Youth Sport Trust which is backing the campaign, said: “At present, young people’s levels of activity halve between the ages of nine and 15.

“Inactivity can impact younger years in the more immediate term: being active can improve concentration, increase levels of academic attainment and reduce absenteeism from school.

“We need to find as many ways as possible to inspire young people to get active and stay active.”