13 February 2014

Children and young people evidence briefing

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This BHFNC evidence briefing focuses on children and young people aged 5-18. It looks at the available research evidence for the benefits of physical activity for this age group.

This resource also paints a picture of how active children and young people across the UK currently are. It looks at factors affecting participation and the effectiveness of interventions that are designed to increase physical activity.

This briefing is designed for professionals who require a detailed review of the evidence base available.

Key findings

  • Physical activity can improve the physiological and psychological health of children and young people.
  • Using self-report measures, most children in England and many children in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not achieve recommended physical activity levels.
  • Participation in physical activity decreases in adolescence, but levels remain higher in boys than girls.
  • A complex range of individual, family, social and environmental factors influence participation in physical activity by children and young people.
  • The most successful interventions with children and young people aged 5-18 years have been multi-component approaches. They include modifications to school culture and environment and also family and community involvement.
  • Evidence-based action is required at school, community and family levels to increase physical activity and to reduce prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour among children and young people.

Download: Physical Activity for Children and Young People - Evidence briefing