Increased physical activity in schools vital to the long term health of children – Lyttle

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has supported calls for funding for an educational awareness and physical education programme in schools.

Mr Lyttle was speaking ahead of an Assembly debate on encouraging healthier lifestyles for school children. Chris Lyttle said: “The Department of Education’s own guidance recommends children should participate in a minimum of 2 hours’ physical activity each week. It is startling that the 2015 School Omnibus Survey showed that on average only 4% of primary pupils in schools surveyed were provided with 2 hours or more physical activity.

“Increased funding and support for educational awareness and physical education is therefore vital to improving the long term health of our children and ease pressure on the health service.

“We regularly receive advice about healthy eating and general wellbeing. By introducing children to regular exercise at an early age we give them the foundation for a healthy life. Schools are therefore ideally placed to introduce children to an active lifestyle.

“I would also propose that the Education Minister should launch a public consultation on the introduction of a statutory obligation to facilitate a minimum number of hours of physical education each week for primary school children.”

The links below are for the most recent Department of Education Omnibus Surveys, which include sections on physical activity.

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