Tackling Childhood Obesity in Schools

Helping schools to tackle childhood obesity
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Almost one in seven children are already obese when they begin primary school in England.
Figures released by NHS Digital also show that by the time they reach Year 6, the last year of primary school, more than a quarter of children are obese.
The figures for 2021 represent a significant increase on the previous year’s data and many experts believe the lockdowns brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have played a role in the change.
Other factors being discussed include poverty and a rise in mental health problems.
While action to reduce childhood obesity does not lie solely with schools, incorporating wellbeing messages into formal education can help youngsters to understand why physical health is important.
At Sunshine Gym we believe in opening up as many opportunities as possible for young people to get moving and stay active.
Investing in outdoor gym equipment for schools is not only a cost effective way of providing more sports capacity, it offers a fun physical challenge that youngsters want to take up.

Sunshine Gym for Primary Schools

In 2019-2020, 10 per cent of children were obese at the start of primary school, aged four and five, compared to 14.4 per cent in the most recent study.
School closures, increased time spent at home and bans on the opening of playgrounds during lockdown are being partly blamed for the rise.
But even before the Coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization claimed childhood obesity was one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st Century.
In 2018, Ofsted carried out a review into what actions schools were taking to reduce the levels of obesity among pupils.
It concluded that the contribution of schools is extremely important but that there are many other factors outside the educational environment that are impossible for teachers to control.
Instead it said schools must do what they do best and deliver a curriculum for healthy living.

PE in Primary Schools

Among the ways Ofsted recommends schools educate young people about healthy living is to deliver a comprehensive PE programme.
From speaking to parents, Ofsted said families wanted to know more about what children are learning in school so this can be followed up at home. They also wanted more time for PE including an extra-curricular offering.
An outdoor gym is a great way for primary schools to increase sports capacity. Once installed, it’s free to access keeping costs low for students from all backgrounds.
Schools also benefit from minimal set up time, maximising participation in PE lessons and after-school clubs.
Being outdoors means the fitness equipment can be utilised by other parts of the community if the school so wishes, helping parents to exercise with their little ones.
And of course staying active in the great outdoors is a great way to achieve a mental health boost.
All of these factors meet the criteria for the Government’s PE and Sport Premium Funding.

Sunshine Gym for Secondary Education

Just before heading into high school, aged 10 or 11, more than a quarter of children are obese. The rate is up from 21 per cent in 2019-2020 to 25.5 per cent in the year 2020-2021.
It is becoming clear that the issue of engaging young people in regular activity is not just one for the primary education sector.
Secondary, further and higher educational settings can all benefit from outdoor fitness equipment, opening up the same workouts that are available in indoor gyms but without the same barriers for teenagers.
An outdoor gym removes the cost and travel issues that membership of a traditional gym may present to young people.
It also offers the opportunity for them to exercise with their friends in a pressure-free environment.
All Sunshine Gym equipment comes with clear labelling, explaining how each piece of kit is operated. And with wheelchair accessible equipment available as well as a range of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, an outdoor gym can appeal to a good cross section of students.

For more information about installing a Sunshine Gym in an educational setting, contact our advisers today or take a look at our buyer’s guides.