Researchers from the University of Essex carried out a study on 1,200 children from Essex between 1998, 2008 and 2014 to analyse the current status of kid’s fitness in the UK. The study found that we are seeing a dramatic fall in terms of the ‘strength and fitness’ of children, which needs to be addressed.
The study found that children today have become taller and heavier, but are actually performing worse in physical activity tests, which is something that has shocked members of the research team. Children today performed worse at activities such as sit-ups and grip strength, which are two tests to analyse the overall strength and fitness of children.
Researchers expected to see a rise in the overall strength of children aged 10, as they have become bigger and taller, but this was in fact not the case. This might be down to researchers studying each child’s BMI, which can be inaccurate due to it not taking into account what type of weight each child carries (fat or muscle), which can lead to inaccuracy when it comes to working out the overall fitness of today’s children.
This is why the researchers went on to say that “healthy weight” that is determined by BMI can be misleading if used on its own to analyse kids’ health.
The results are also down to more and more children being inactive down to them spending more time indoors than children of the 90s, down to there now being things such as the internet and video games to keep them entertained, rather than them choosing to go outdoors and stay active.
This fall in kids strength and fitness is a cry for more Personal Trainers to focus on kids fitness as well as training adults. Dr Gavin Sandercock who led the research has said that “Inactive lifestyles are a health risk but physical fitness is the single best measure of health in childhood, adolescence and into adulthood…”
He later went on to say that “Poor fitness and inactivity lead to multiple health problems in their adult life…”, which is why as Personal Trainers, we need to take action now. As fitness professionals, the options for pursuing kids fitness are growing, and with this recent study, there has never been a better time to become a kids fitness instructor.
Along with the call for Personal Trainers to take action on kids’ fitness, Dr Sandercock has urged schools to carry out more fitness tests when possible, as this will help researchers to gain a more accurate insight into kids’ fitness; allowing us to make further plans to combat the problem.
Overall, keeping children fit is monumental to our sustainability as a nation, as more early health problems lead to more long-term problems. Taking action to help combat poor health among children is one way we can make sure to do our bit as fitness professionals to help maintain the healthiest society possible.
Becoming recognised as a kids fitness instructor allows you to make a huge impact on the future health of the nation, as you are able to make a difference to not only how active today’s youth are, but also in how they manage their diets, which is one of the biggest tasks when it comes to improving children’s health, with fast food and a clear lack of transparency around kids’ diets.