Physical Inactivity for Kids Is Out of Control–Policymakers Are Taking Action 

The World Health Organization recently released alarming data: 81% of kids between the ages of 11 and 17 are now inactive, with girls most affected (85% are inactive, vs 78% of boys). The World Obesity Federation recently estimated that between 2020 and 2035, obesity in children and teens will double. The healthcare costs are spinning out of control and more governments are taking action. WellToDo recently painted the picture of the global inactivity crisis for kids and how governments and companies are creating new strategies, with traditional PE rules up for revision. Last month, the UK government released a plan to increase PE to a minimum of two hours a week. Also, the French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, together with the Paris 2024 Olympics, launched an initiative to mandate 30 minutes of exercise each day in French schools. Fitness companies are taking action: mega gym chain Planet Fitness, with its “High School Summer Pass” program, gave teens free memberships for the entire summer at its 2,400+ US and Canadian locations.  

The GWI’s new Wellness Policy Toolkit: Physical Activity provides a roadmap for policymakers on how to get more people moving, and details the many ways to tackle the problem for children and teens. This includes allowing enough time for PE and recess, but also creating more opportunities for movement during the day. Some interesting approaches are The Daily Mile Initiative, which has kids take a 15-minute jogging break every day, and the  “walking school bus” program. Also important: putting the “play” back into youth sports, because high-pressure, highly-competitive sports excludes so many kids from participating.  

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