Physical Activity amongst young people is a major contemporary issue for health and physical educators. Discuss this statement indicating how schools and physical education departments can/ should encourage greater physical activity amongst children and adolescents.
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Physical activity is a broad term to describe movement of the body that uses energy. Unless otherwise stated, taking part in Sport and physical activity is defined as “All forms of physical activities which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.” http://www.sportengland.org/physical_activity_and_sport_playing_its_part_in_delivering_on_the_health_agenda.pdf
Physical inactivity is regarded a serious, nationwide problem. Its extent poses as a public health challenge for reducing the national burden of unnecessary illness and premature death. Starting activity from an early age and throughout childhood helps an important input to healthy growth and development.
There is strong and growing evidence that regular physical activity reduces the risk of suffering from various common disorders. Evidence shows regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are also many psychosocial aspects of physical activity, such as having the opportunity for social interaction and support (Hughes, Casal, Leon 1986), experiencing increased feelings of self-efficacy (Simons et al. 1985; Hughes, Casal, Leon 1986), and experiencing relief from daily stressors (Bahrke and Morgan 1978), may help improve mental health status in some people. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/pdf/chap4.pdf
If a child has positive experiences with physical activity at a young age it may help set the foundations for being regularly active throughout life. This would mean not just about teaching children how to play sports, there is the wider proposal in terms of their lives, like giving them aspirations, something to aim for and how they can achieve their goals.Parents and carers are important social influencers upon children and young peoples’ lifestyle choices. Hendry, Shucksmith, Love and Glendinning (1993, pg. 59) state that “Two major elements appear to be dirctly related to attraction towards and avoidance of sport participation: parents as role models and parental encouragement, expectations and support”.
Physical activity promotion is a high component of many government policy statements and commitments in the UK. These include those produced by the Department of Health and other departments such as the Department or Transport, the Department of Culture. The Department of Health’s ‘Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation’ is an action plan for tackling poor health and improving the health of everyone in England. The Government has recognised the negative economic and social consequences of physical inactivity. In December 2002, the Government published ‘Game Plan’, a strategy for delivering its sport and physical activity objectives. ‘Game Plan’ set a national agenda: to increase and widen the base of participation in sport, to target success in international sport and to promote any reform necessary for the strategy to be delivered. ‘Game Plan’ sets the target of 70% of the population to be reasonably active 5 x 30 minutes per week by 2020. (http://www.sportengland.org/national-framework-for-sport.pdf)
The White Paper also agrees that physical activity is a key aid to good health and an important factor in preventing heart disease, stroke and other chronic disease. This document is the 2004 Government Public Health White Paper published by the department of health. It forms the foundation  of public...
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