Parents 'overestimate' kids' fitness

Candy Bellinger

British parents are under some serious misconceptions about the amount of exercise their children are getting, according to a new survey. The British Heart Foundation says of the nearly 1,000 parents questioned, 71% believe that their children are "active enough" but only 10% of their children say they are doing the recommended amount.

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The findings were revealed in the BHF report called Couch Kids, which shows that though the number of obese children has been rising since the mid-1990s, there has been no change in their physical activity levels over the same period.

Now the charity says that parents need to take the "blinkers off" about how active their children are and is calling for urgent action to ensure kids are getting enough exercise including guidelines on recommended levels and further opportunities in schools.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said: "Mums and dads need to take the blinkers off about how active kids need to be in order to keep their hearts healthy. Kids need to get moving more, yet we've been standing still for the last decade. Children aren't really any more active than they were 10 years ago."

In response to the report, a Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC: "Tackling childhood obesity is a priority for the government. Emerging evidence suggests childhood obesity rates may be levelling off but they are still too high. If we're going to turn the tide on obesity for good, our children need to be active for 60 minutes a day – including what they already do at school. We are taking tough action and investing £372m to address obesity and to prevent people becoming overweight in the first place. Many of the recommendations in Couch Kids have already been addressed in the government's obesity strategy and the PE and School Sport for Young People strategy."

Let us know what you think. Are children getting enough exercise? If not, what do you think can be done to tackle the obesity epidemic?