During the first day of the HEPA Europe conference, Dr. Esther van Sluijs presented the work she and her team at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge are doing on physical activity promotion in children.
First, Dr van Sluijs pointed out that only 29% of European children meet the physical activity guidelines. This especially worrying because physical activity levels decline with increasing age. Furthermore, her research has found that a whole set of physical activity promotion interventions in schools in the UK, have no effect on overall physical activity levels of the children.
She pointed out some interesting lessons that can be learned from the evidence of previous activity interventions. The problem of physical activity misperception, for example, with people overestimating their levels of activity and parents overestimating the physical activity levels of their children.
In fact, that evidence shows that in the UK time out of school is when children are being most inactive, especially in winter. In addition, research also shows that there should be more focus on vigorous physical activity because of the stronger association with obesity and diabetes.
Promoting physical activity in children is more important than ever and is part of EuropeActive’s mission to make more people more active more often. The ALCIS projects demonstrate EuropeActive’s commitment and resolve to promote physical activity in children across Europe.