Physical activity – consultation response

In 2018 we responded to UKactive KIDS’ consultation on children’s health and physical activity. We welcome efforts to encourage children and young people to regularly partake in physical activity, which has physical and mental health benefits to their health.

UKactive KIDS' consultation was designed to capture written evidence to shape their report ‘Generation Inactive 1’ published on 12 September 2018. The consultation focused on developing opportunities in three key areas: the organisations and institutions that children and young people experience, the physical environment that children and young people grow up in, and the social environment that children interact with. The consultation was UK-wide.

Our response

  • We welcome measures that facilitate children of all backgrounds to be supported to enjoy an appropriate range of physical activities on a regular basis. Children who are more active have better health and wellbeing and are more likely to achieve better educational attainment.
  • Evidence from our State of Child Health report shows that one in five children are classified as overweight or obese during their first year of primary school, rising to a third of children by age 10-11 years. Specific attention should be paid to this group, who will require additional support and encouragement to partake in physical activity.
  • We support the daily mile initiative to promote physical activity.
  • We advocate that NHS professionals should ‘make every contact count’ to promote healthy lifestyles, as individuals are more likely to become active if they have received appropriate advice from a healthcare professional.
  • We support NICE guideline [NG90] ‘Physical activity and the environment’, which includes guidance for all ages on transport, public open spaces, buildings and schools.
  • Children and young people have told RCPCH &Us that they want physical activity to be exciting – “many young people don’t realise how fun sport can be”.

Our recommendations

  • UK Governments should respond to recommendations outlined by key policy organisations to implement health strategies that promote the uptake of physical activity.
  • There should be a strategic and coordinated approach between organisations and institutions to promote physical activity for children and young people.
  • Within education settings, children should have dedicated time for physical activity during school time (physical education should remain statutory), schools should have appropriate spaces to enable physical education and physical education should be complemented with statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education for all age groups.
  • There should be a coordinated effort to promote physical and social environments that complement each other, as they often impact each other.
  • Efforts to promote physical activity should coincide with measures to limit the consumption of unhealthy foods.
  • UKactive, and other organisations, should encourage enhanced data collection on levels of physical activity among children and young people, to drive further changes and recommendations.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Health Policy team: