KIDS’ activity levels plunge dramatically over their years at primary school, a study claims.
An hour-plus of exercise a week is lost between ages six to 11 with a greater fall at the weekends.
Children became 17 minutes less active per week each year in a study of 2,000 from 57 schools in the South West.
Prof Russ Jago, from the University of Bristol, said: “Our numbers prove that more needs to be done to ensure children keep active.
“This isn’t about getting children to exercise more, but rather maintaining levels.
“Developing early intervention strategies could include after-school programmes, focusing on participation in addition to popular sports — plus a greater emphasis on promoting weekend activities.”
Youngsters wore accelerometers to assess how long they spent on moderate to vigorous physical activity, that is when they are slightly out of breath.
Medical experts recommend children do an hour of such activity daily. The study found 61 per cent in Year 1 did at least an hour of this a day but by Year 6, only 41 per cent did.
In girls, the figure fell from 54 per cent to 28 per cent.
The research also examined body mass index changes.
Recent National Child Measurement Programme data shows ten per cent of kids aged four to five were obese but this doubled to 20 per cent for ten to 11-year-olds.
Some 90 per cent of children obese at three remain overweight in adolescence.