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Cambridge children living in a virtual world

According to a survey recently conducted by Mothercare in Cambridgeshire, more children spend time gaming on electronic devices than playing outside and getting exercise.

Just over a quarter of Cambridge children play outside for less than half an hour a week, the poll states.

The group leader of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University, Esther van Slujis, commented that changes in society influence the amount of physical activity undertaken by children. People have easier access to electronic equipment and therefore spend much longer in front of devices as a result.

Cambridge City Council has introduced initiatives to tackle the problem of child obesity. Free table tennis sessions are now available at venues around Cambridge, along with other activities.

The National Child Measurement Programme has revealed that 8.7% of the children who are entering reception year are classed as obese. Dr van Slujis added:

“Childhood obesity has certainly been increasing and has personal and societal effects. It will cost society a lot of money and on a personal level it can leave a damaging lasting legacy.”

Following the interest in the recent Tour de France, which passed through the city, a junior cycling club has been launched, for children aged 11 to 16 years old. Schools are also playing an active role in the fight against child obesity, with the introduction of healthy tuckshop foods. Merseyside was one of the first areas to introduce the nutritious eating initiative, helping students to understand the concept of healthy eating.

Posted by Mark
July 30, 2014
Research

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