This article has been written by Dr Lucy Griffiths and Professor Gareth Stratton from Swansea University under Senedd Research’s Academic Fellowship Scheme. The article reflects on the work of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s inquiry into ‘Physical Activity of Children and Young People’.
Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. For children and young people, insufficient activity can also have harmful consequences related to development, self-esteem, motivation, confidence, academic attainment and wellbeing overall. Increasing population levels of physical activity would therefore help shape Welsh Government’s ambition for a Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales.
To this end, the Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee recently published the report of its inquiry into ‘Physical Activity of Children and Young People‘ (PDF 0.99MB). This report details the current state of play and makes 20 recommendations for reducing physical inactivity in children and young people across Wales. One of these calls is for an “agreed national measurement framework for physical activity levels and fitness as a matter of priority, to standardise and improve data collection” (Recommendation 1). Here we further discuss the justification and importance for this, and recommendations for such an approach.