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Exercise: Children

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the amount of physical activity undertaken by school age children each week in (a) 1997 and (b) 2007. (150357)

The information is not available in the format requested. Data on childhood physical activity are not available for 2007. Data on physical activity among children are collected in the Health Survey for England (HSE), but not in every year. We can provide data on the level of physical activity undertaken outside of school by boys and girls aged two-10 and boys and girls aged 11-15 for 1997 and 2002. Data are published in “Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2006”, produced by The Information Centre for health and social care (The IC) at:

This information is provided in the following table.

In addition, data are available on participation in physical education (PE) and school sport from the School Sport survey. These are also published in “Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2006”. The data were collected from 16,882 schools that are within school sport partnerships in England. The latest survey results show that in 2005-06 80 per cent. of pupils in school years one to 11 (mainly aged five to 15-years) in partnership schools participated in at least two hours of high quality PE and school sport in a typical week. These school sport partnerships were set up in a number of phases starting September 2000 and so there are no data available for 1997.

Table 1: Children’s summary physical activity levels1, 2, 3,1997 and 2002—EnglandPercentages19972002Boys 2-10High45455Medium920Low3726Boys 11-15High45556Medium1316Low3329Girls 2-10High44548Medium1021Low4430Girls 11-15High42734Medium1522Low5944Bases (weighted)Boys aged 2-101,4252,705Boys aged 11-157191,495Girls aged 2-101,4562,598Girls aged 11-156791,460 1 High = 60 minutes or more on all seven days; Medium = 30-59 minutes on all seven days; Low = Lower level of activity2 Only activities that lasted 15 minutes and over were included.3 It was assumed that all walking and housework/gardening sessions in 2002 lasted 15 minutes. This was necessary in order to make 2002 and 1997 data comparable as there was no duration question for walking and housework/gardening in 1997.4 Based on the assumption that all activity was of at least moderate intensity, this group represents those who met the physical activity recommendations for at least an hour of at least moderate-intensity activity a day.Source:Health Survey for England, 2002. The Department of Health