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Schools need to tackle obesity

16th October 2007

The government's Schools Secretary has called for the help of teachers in order to encourage pupils to take more exercise.

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Ed Balls told the BBC that schools should target children who did not get involved with sports or use the facilities. He said: "We know that girls, especially as they get older, often stop taking part in sport."

He said: "If the kit is awful or embarrassing it's much more likely the kids will forget to bring it."

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Balls said how a school presented sporting activities to its pupils had a huge effect on take-up rates. He called for a more diverse range of activities - such as yoga - to be provided.

Mr Balls stated that parents should be involved as early as possible to combat any problems. He said: "Sport - like school food - is important to improve children's lives and reduce childhood obesity."

The government has stated that its target to get 85% of pupils participating in two hours of sport per week by 2008 has already been reached.

The 2006-7 School Sport Survey showed that 86% of pupils in England took part in "at least" two hours of sport per week and the amount of different activities had also increased. On average, children were offered the choice of 21.7 different options.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is also spearheading a £100m campaign to make schools provide pupils with five hours of sport per week.



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