December 2013 I The King's Fund
This online resource highlights to local authorities how investing in the right public health interventions can provide excellent value for money as well as improving the health and wellbeing of communities. It identifies nine key areas that can improve public health and reduce inequalities - including improving access to parks and open spaces. It says that increasing access to parks and open spaces would create more opportunities for creative ‘play’ among children, as well as better educational performance, and reduce the cost to the NHS of treating obesity by more than £2bn. A companion report is also available.
March 2014 I BMC Public Health journal
Evaluating the effects of the Lunchtime Enjoyment Activity and Play (LEAP) school playground intervention on children’s quality of life, enjoyment and participation in physical activity
This year-long Australian study suggests that the introduction of movable/recycled materials into the school playground can have a significant, positive long-term effect on activity levels in children. Cheap items like crates and buckets encourage children to be more active and creative than expensive play equipment, researchers at RMIT found.
01 April 2014 I StreetGames / Cebr
Published by national sports charity, StreetGames and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), this is the first study to quantify the economic and social costs associated with physical inactivity specifically among young people in the UK. It suggests that each physically inactive young person costs the UK economy £12,000 and highlights statistics showing that although 5 to 15 year old children in London are more likely to meet physical activity recommendations than elsewhere in the country, London has the highest childhood obesity levels in the country. Some 23.2 per cent of 2 to 15 year olds are obese and an additional 15 per cent are overweight.
08 April 2014 I All-Party Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity
This is the first of two reports from the APPC on Physical Activity, which was set up in 2013. This first report aims to set out the scale and scope of the problem,mapping out areas where change is needed. The report notes that "active play is as important as organised sport and there is potential to make all experiences of physical activity enjoyable." Unfortunately this is the only mention made of the role that play could have in promoting physical activity. In the second report the commission plans to make "some tangible suggestions on how we can begin to tackle this epidemic." To contribute join the Facebook conversation here and put play-based solutions on the agenda.
12 May 2014 I International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Who children spend time with after school: associations with objectively recorded indoor and outdoor physical activity
Every hour that children spend outside playing with their friends results in an extra 17 minutes of physical activity, according to a study from Bristol University investigating how children spend their time after school. However, the study, involving 427 children aged 10 and 11, also reveals that they do in fact spend most of their after school time indoors either alone or with parents, which is associated with lower levels of physical activity. Researchers say that the findings highlight the need for children to be given more opportunities to play outdoors with friends.
Click here to access the full report which was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
March 2014 I British Heart Foundation National Centre
This BHFNC practice briefing looks at practical strategies for increasing the physical activity levels of young people. It looks at 11-18 year olds specifically and provides evidence-based suggestions and practical ideas for this age group.
The briefing contains information on promoting physical activity to young people within the community as well as in a school setting. A case study example is included to show how one organisation, StreetGames, is including these strategies in their Let’s Get Fizzical programme.
For more information and to download the briefing click here
May 2014 I Save Childhood Movement
This printable charter outlines nine developmental rights that the Save Childhood Movement says every child in the UK is entitled to, as part of spending time enjoying and exploring the wonders of the natural world. Download it here.
06 August 2014 I Play Policy Forum
This report presents evidence to build the case for improving the play opportunities of children and young people. Its focus is on children of school age, and on free play that takes place out of doors. It looks at quantitative evidence of the wider outcomes and impact of play interventions and initiatives. Hence it complements rather than duplicates other recent policy reviews.
Department of Health I October 2013
Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays
This report calls for urgent change to improve the health of children in the UK, where there are five more child deaths per day compared to Sweden. It highlights a strong economic case for taking action - for example, reducing obesity by just one percentage point among children and young people could lead to savings of £1b a year as children would be less likely to end up with long-term health problems. The report acknoweldges the important contribution play makes to increasing children's activity levels, and includes case studies on play streets as well as the economic case for adventure play.
Access the report here
28 August 2014 I The Children's Society
England's children are lagging behind their counterparts in developing countries such as Romania, Algeria and South Africa when it comes to happiness and satisfaction with their lives, according to this report. It highlights a strong correlation between wellbeing and time spent playing active games or sport - with children who are active most days around half as likely to have low wellbeing as those who are never active. But the research also reveals worrying levels of dissatisfaction with appearance, with almost one in eight English children saying that they are unhappy with the way they look. Girls are twice as likely as boys to be unhappy with this aspect of their lives and the gender gap is growing.
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