Monday, 30 March 2009

I started the day at the Primary Link Teachers (PE) Conference at the Ghandi Hall at Leeds Metropolitan University...

The Department of Health's 'Health Profile of England 2008' provides a snapshot of health and well-being and contains loads of good news:
  • the proportion of schoolchildren drinking has fallen;
  • the proportion of schoolchildren smoking has fallen;
  • the proportion of schoolchildren using drugs has fallen;
  • the proportion of schoolchildren engaging in physical activity has risen;
  • the proportion of schoolchildren eating five portions of fruit and vegetable everyday has risen.
  • child and adult obesity has increased alarmingly;
  • cases of diabetes have increased alarmingly.
And the bad news is that the picture is different across the country with Yorkshire and the Humber lying towards the bottom of many of the indicators.
Clearly, the message seems to be that we should all focus our energy and efforts on addressing the following issues;
  • encouraging healthy lifestyles;
  • tackling obesity through better diet and increased activity.
My colleague Helen Plimmer, Adviser for PE, had invited me to talk to the PrimAry Link Teachers about the success we have had with the PE and School Sport Strategy. Over 90% of our children and young people are doing the two hours a week of PE and School Sport. Our challenge now is to build on our success and ensure that every child engages in five hours of PE and School Sport every week including those who are not that interested.

My colleague Max Amesbury talked to the group about the 'Spirit Alive' project he has been managing for us. The initiative started with four schools in 2007, involved 30 schools in 2008 and we hope will involve at least 100 schools this year. Our aim is for every school in Leeds to be involved in organising their own mini-olympic games in 2012.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently published guidance on Promoting Physical Activity for Children and Young People. The recommendations are that children and young people should undertake a range of moderate to vigorous-intensity activities for at least 60 minutes every day with at least two sessions a week of activities that improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility. This amount of physical activity can be achieved in a number of short, ten-minute 'Wake-Up and Shake Up' style sessions.

This is such an important aspect of our work here in Leeds and I hope that today has provided colleagues with a pool of great ideas to help us achieve this ambitious target for our children and young people.

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