On the Healthcare Agenda - Children choose TV over exercise

Children: choose TV over exercise
Children: choose TV over exercise

In a nutshell

A study has revealed a generation of children are turning their backs on physical activity in favour of keeping 'digitally fit' by watching TV, playing video games and chatting on social networks. The research also found a high number of children were unable to swim or ride a bike.

Why the survey?

The survey was carried out to launch this year's Tata Kids of Steel triathlon series. The scheme was launched in 2007 and gives children the chance to compete in mini-triathlons for free.

The findings

The survey of 1,500 British sixto 15-year-olds, commissioned by Tata Steel in partnership with British Triathlon, revealed that more than twice as many youngsters spend their free time watching TV (79 per cent) as playing sport (34 per cent). Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) said they had never run 400 metres, 15 per cent confessed to not being able to swim, and one in 10 said they could not ride a bike. A further 15 per cent of the children polled said they had never played sport with their parents.

PR strategy

Sport and entertainment consultancy Clifford French handled the PR for the Tata Kids of Steel campaign, aiming to highlight the importance of providing opportunities for youngsters to play sport. It conducted the research via YoungPoll (an arm of One Poll) and sent out a press release to national and regional media.

Media coverage

The survey was picked up extensively in the UK print, broadcast and online media on 4 May. Highlights included Sky News, Daily Mail, and BBC News online.

15% of children confessed to not being able to swim

1 in 10 said they could not ride a bike

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