The Obesity Health Alliance, which is a coalition of over 30 charities, published figures which estimate 40 million adults in Britain will be overweight or obese by 2035. This report also revealed that an extra 7.6 million cases of disease linked to being overweight or obese in the UK are expected to be diagnosed over the next 20 years. The Obesity Health Alliance, together with campaign groups and the Royal Medical Colleges, have joined together to fight obesity because they predict 4.62 million new cases of type 2 diabetes will be diagnosed over the next two decades.
The annual National School Sport Week, which this year takes place from 20 – 24 June, educates and works to get children involved in sport and physical activity at a young age to help tackle obesity. Across the UK, 4,500 primary and secondary schools have registered to take part. The week aims to encourage pupils to be physically active and take part in a number of events and sports hosted during the week by teachers, volunteers and coaches from sport and recreation organisations. By creating memorable sporting moments, the Youth Sport Trust aims to make sport and physical activity a consistent part of children and young people’s daily life.
Getting children involved in sport and physical activity at an early age is highlighted in Sport England’s Towards an Active Nation. The strategy identifies that more can be done with pre and post-school activities in the 5-14 year-old age group, but this must be combined with activities during the school day and National School Sport Week will help reinforce to children the idea of being active.
This type of engagement needs to be seen as part of a journey. Sport England are introducing a new annual survey that will help the sector to better understand customer needs and this will enable sport and recreation organisations to deliver more opportunities to get children of a young age more active. This is crucial if they are to stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle in later life.
The good news is that the Obesity Health Alliance report stated that one small change, such as 1% shift in the number of people putting on extra weight each year until 2035, could avoid 77,000 cases of disease in 2035 alone. Sport and physical activity is fundamental to helping this change. National School Sport Week is an example of how the sector can collectively work together to better educate children and young people about the mental and physical wellbeing benefits of being active.
Following the launch of National School Sport Week, the Alliance will be featuring blogs from: