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School fitness tests needed, says charity

Only half of seven year olds are meeting the Chief medical officer (CMO) physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes per day, and a health charity recommends they start doing fitness tests to combat this.

Primary schools should introduce fitness tests in the same way there are maths and English tests, a new report from UKactive has concluded.

The report, Generation Inactive, reveals that an inactive person spends 37% more days in hospital and 5.5% visits to the doctor than an active individual. Inactive people were also shown to be significantly more likely to suffer from depression, and dementia than physically active adults.

The report, which has received backing from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, recommended that the government extend the National child measurement programme to measure fitness in addition to the current measurement of body mass index (BMI) based on height and weight.

UKactive always suggested the forthcoming Childcare Bill, which guarantees 30 hours' free childcare a week for children aged three and four, should include a statutory requirement for a dedicated allocation of time for play, physical activity and cultivating physical literacy skills.