Manifesto For Physical Activity From Children’s Earliest Years Wins Play Industry’s Support

  • Posted on Jan 22, 2016
  • News

A warm welcome for measures to provide high quality opportunities for the very youngest children in society to be physically active has been welcomed by the UK play industry.

The Association of Play Industries (API), which campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition for play, supports the recommendations set out by the British Heart Foundation National Centre’s Best Start in Life manifesto, launched today. The BHFNC early years advisory group urges policymakers not to ignore pre school-aged children when developing policy on physical activity.

API Chair Mark Hardy says: “With many children already overweight when they start primary school, it is vitally important to embed physical activity into children’s lives as early as possible. Physical activity provides clear developmental, health and wellbeing benefits to even the youngest children, and healthy lifestyle habits and behaviours that start early in life are more likely to continue in adulthood. Parents, childcare settings, local authorities and government all have a vital job to do in providing opportunities, places and time for the youngest children to play and be active.”

The BHFNC manifesto for physical activity in the early years calls for:

  • Health education professionals and families to act upon the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for physical activity in the early years;
  • Greater emphasis on the importance of physical activity across the Early Years Foundation
  • Stage curriculum, and better guidance and training for early years practitioners on how to promote and develop physical activity in young children;
  • Access to safe and stimulating physical activity and travel opportunities in every local community;
  • Health professionals to provide better guidance and support for parents on increasing physical activity in young children.

The API urges policymakers to take on board the manifesto’s recommendations – as well as those for a holistic strategy to support child development, as set out in the recent report on play by the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood – when developing the national obesity framework to ensure the health and well-being of the under fives are not over-looked.

Recent API research showed that nearly four in ten (38%) parents are worried their local playground will close down, with more than half (56%) unhappy about the lack of high quality play facilities in their local area.

Download the BHFNC Best Start in Life manifesto at: http://www.bhfactive.org.uk/beststart/index.html For further information about the Association of Play Industries, contact: Deborah Holt, API Association Manager, tel: 024 7641 4999 or email [email protected]

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