Right now, there are 68,000 children in Oxfordshire who are not meeting national guidelines for physical activity. Since lockdown, activity levels for children have plummeted and are now at an all-time low.
Active Oxfordshire is launching the Active 60 campaign to help every child in the county achieve the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 60 active minutes a day. Prioritising children’s activity levels will ensure that we can give our county’s children an active start in life and help protect them from obesity and long-term physical and mental health conditions.
Active 60 calls on families, schools, local authorities and charities from across the county to come together and achieve the goal of every child doing 60 active minutes, every day. Active 60 is offering specialist advice for schools on spending their PE Premium Funding and increasing rates of walking and cycling to school through the year-round WOW Walk to School Scheme; information for families about getting active and affordable activity programmes such as Cherwell’s FAST programme through the GO Active website; and a Healthy Active Children virtual conference in November.
Paul Brivio, Chief Executive of Active Oxfordshire, says:
“Children’s inactivity levels are a ticking timebomb that we simply cannot ignore. We owe it to Oxfordshire’s children to work together and give every child an active start in life. COVID-19 has not only meant that activity levels for children have dropped to an all time low, it’s also widened the inequality gap. While 84% of children living in North Oxford can swim by age 11, that figures drops to just 30% in parts of East Oxford. This has to change.
Everyone has a part to play in the Active 60 campaign. We want to see more children walking or cycling to school, more families able to access fun and enjoyable activities and partners working together to reach our goal of every child active, every day.”
One of the schools working closely with Active Oxfordshire to help their children achieve 60 active minutes every day is Windmill Primary School in Headington:
“In this day and age, where our lives are dominated by screens, and where we’re seeing more and more children becoming anxious and suffering with mental health issues, we must place a greater emphasis on the children in our schools becoming physically active. If they can become active for an hour a day, and this becomes part of their routine, we are supporting them in setting themselves up for a future which is healthier and happier than currently many of our children have.”
Lynn, Knapp, Headteacher of Windmill Primary School.
Tom Gubbins, Sport and Physical Activity Manager at Cherwell District Council co-ordinates the successful FAST programme which provides affordable activity opportunities for families:
“The FAST programme is all about making it as easy as possible for families to be physically active in Cherwell by taking provision to people’s doorsteps, along with reducing the cost of activities to enable families to access opportunities that they may not have had the chance before. The Active 60 campaign is a great way to help children achieve their 60 active minutes a day and the FAST programme is excited to be a part of this campaign. The recent FAST lockdown survey demonstrated that families have found it really tough in recent months to stay active; we are committed to helping children and families get their Active 60 minutes.”
To find out more about the Active 60 campaign and get involved, please visit www.activeoxfordshire.org/active-60