Derbyshire children facing health 'timebomb' due to lack of exercise

The drastic reduction in physical activity among Derbyshire’s children has been described as a “time bomb” for future health issues.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 8:59 am

At a Derbyshire County Council health and well-being meeting, members were told that just 10 per cent of the county’s children were now hitting an aim to exercise for an hour a day.

This, they were told by Stuart Batchelor, strategic director for Active Derbyshire, was a direct result of lockdowns and kids being out of school – their primary source of physical activity.

The figures for the county this time last year showed one in three Derbyshire children were deemed inactive, having less than an hour of physical activity per day – with 66 per cent deemed active

Just 10 per cent of the county’s children are hitting the traget of exercising for an hour a day.

Over the course of the past year, this activity level dropped from 66 per cent to just under 50 per cent but has since plummeted to a mere 10 per cent.

Mr Batchelor told the meeting: “The effect for our children has been devastating, this has particularly been the case in less active families and those who are more deprived.

“It is a time bomb for what could come in the future.”

However, Mr Batchelor did say that teenage girls in Derbyshire had been increasing their levels of physical activity, despite lockdowns, saying that “virtual” means of exercise have taken away the worry of being looked at and feeling embarrassed while exercising.

This could include using YouTube videos of exercise routines or taking part in online dance classes.

He reiterated that the loss of physical activity for younger children has been “devastating”, particularly in lower socioeconomic groups.

Mr Batchelor said tackling the “deep roots” of inequality were key to solving the problem.

He said the A38 corridor which stretches north to south through the length of the county was the centre of many of the less active communities.

Mr Batchelor said that one in three adults in Derbyshire are inactive – having less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day – up from one in four pre-Covid.

Lee Hicken, a director at Bolsover District Council and North East Derbyshire District Council, said there were “deep rooted” issues around inactivity in Bolsover.