Skip to main content

Sports: Obesity

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage participation in sport in order to reduce levels of obesity. (306980)

My Department is promoting sport for people of all ages and backgrounds, both as something enjoyable and worthwhile in itself and as something that has a vital role to play in tackling obesity. This is why we are working to get one million more people doing more sport, as part of a wider joint target with the Department of Health to get two million more people more physically active.

In addition, through the PE and Sport Strategy for Young People as part of Olympic PSA 22, we are creating a world-class system of PE and sport aiming to offer all young people five hours per week of PE and sport.

The strategy is jointly owned by DCMS and DCSF, and delivered by Sport England (community sport), and the Youth Sport Trust (school sport) through the network of 450 School Sport Partnerships.

In 2002 an estimated one in four children aged five to 16 were doing two hours of high quality PE and school sport each week; following £1.5 billion investment in 2003-08, 90 per cent. of pupils now do at least two hours in a typical week.

The strategy links closely with other cross-Government policies and investment, notably Change4Life, active play, combating childhood obesity, and Positive Activities for Young People.

Another example of our drive to reduce levels of obesity is the free swimming initiative whereby Departments across Government—DCMS, and the DH; Work and Pensions; Children, Schools and Families; and Communities and Local Government—joined together to provide a £140 million funding pot.

Our aim is that this provision, for over 60s and under 16s, should contribute to reducing levels of obesity and bring long-term benefits to health and well-being.