In 2021, the UK saw 4.3million children living in poverty. The situation was further exacerbated by the pandemic, causing digital isolation, limited access to activities and sport, lack of good nutrition and social isolation. For their affluent peers, fitness levels and access to outdoor facilities remained largely the same during restrictions. For the most underserved communities, access only worsened.
In recently released statistics from the NHS, obesity has become an increasing problem. A quarter of all Year 6 pupils will be starting secondary school clinically obese, along with 14% of Reception-aged children. These figures, taken from the NHS National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for 2020-2021, show additionally, those in impoverished areas have suffered the most.
20% of children in Reception from deprived areas were obese compared to under 10% in the least deprived areas. Similarly, amongst the most impoverished Year 6 children, 39% were obese compared to 14% of their affluent peers.
David Batch, CEO of Premier Education, explains that this spike has been hugely affected by Covid-19. A survey run by Premier Education and a leading PE provision provider found that 63% of children were less active during lockdowns than before the pandemic. Additionally, 82% of parents surveyed said their children had done less than the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. He added:
“We saw a huge drop in extracurricular provision because of the guidance to schools telling them to stop doing these activities.”
Check out our interview with David Batch, CEO of Premier Education on The Drive Phase podcast.
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