Deprivation drives Oxfordshire inactivity, says Public Health expert
Posted: Mon, 26 Nov 2018 14:35
Oxfordshire is a good place for children to grow up – but there is still more work to do.
This was the message from Donna Husband, Head of Commissioning - Health Improvement, Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council, speaking at the 2018 Active Schools conference, organised by Active Oxfordshire.
The conference saw more than 100 primary school teaching providers gather together at the Kassam Stadium on Friday, November 23, to hear insight, ideas and best practice on how to encourage and grow physical activity in schools.
Health expert Donna Husband opened the event with a keynote speech that highlighted that Oxfordshire has two key priorities: coping with demographic growth and change, and adapting to the stresses and strains of modern life that affect our health.
Husband revealed data that showed a stark rise in obesity in children once they reach 10-11 years old.
"At 4-5 years old, less than 8% of children are obese," she said. "By 10-11 years old, this number has nearly doubled. We're 20% less active than we were in the 60s".
A key driver of this is deprivation, added Ms. Husband.
"The difference in obesity prevalence between children attending schools in the most and least deprived areas has increased over time.
"Between 2007/08 and 2016/17, the obesity gap between the most and least deprived areas has increased from 8.5% to 15% for Year 6 children," she added.
"The gap is stark and clear. The more deprived the area, the more likely they are to be obese. This also carries through to parents, as 34% of adults in the most deprived areas were classified as inactive".
Ms. Husband cited clear evidence for the importance of physical activity in a number of areas.
"In children and adolescents, participation in physical activity has been shown to be effective for reducing depression, anxiety, psychological distress and emotional disturbance."
"Physical activity participation can significantly enhance self-esteem and self-concept," added Ms Husband.
Ms. Husband told the room that we all had a part to play in getting children physically active.
"It starts with all of us," she said. "It's important to make PE fun. Please share your ideas, and the good work that you're doing."
To see how Bure Park Primary School uses physical activity in schools to get great academic results, click here.