The Obesity Strategy – Summary and ideas for Schools

The Obesity Strategy

The Childhood Obesity plan is finally here. It highlights that a third of our children are overweight or obese and recognises the associated physical and mental strains that this places on both the individual and the state.

It describes the complexity of the problem and crucially recognises that in order to achieve sustainable change; schools must be the key driver.

So what’s in it?

In summary…

  • A soft drinks sugar tax for those exceeding guidelines.
  • A doubling of the school sports premium
  • An aim to reduce sugar in food and drink products by 20%
  • Updating the nutrient profile model
  • Providing support with cost of healthy foods
  • Help all children to enjoy an hour of physical activity everyday
  • Improving coordination of high quality sport/activity programs for schools
  • Creation of a new healthy rating scheme for schools – for those that help children eat better and move more!
  • Clearer food labelling

Despite initial hopes that this would be a game changing strategy sadly we have ended up with a watered down version of what was promised. The soft drink industry has got a two year period in which to reduce sugar so that they can be exempt from the new tax and the headline of ‘20% reduction in sugar in food and drink’ is actually voluntary for both industries.

If however we look at the potential of our schools in this fight against obesity then not all hope is lost!

There are three key parts for schools;

  • A doubling of the school sports premium
  • Help all children to enjoy an hour of physical activity everyday
  • Creation of a new healthy rating scheme for schools – for those that help children eat better and move more!

So how could schools achieve success for and within the strategy?

Here are ten ideas for targeted use of the school sports premium and helping children achieve an hour a day of physical activity:

Doubling of School Sports Premium

·         Upskilling of ALL staff to help provide high quality experiences of PE and Sport

·         Increase breadth and offer of Curriculum activities

·         Introduction of 1 hour of Active Maths per week for all students

·         Increase amount and range of after school clubs

·         Grounds redesign – such as putting in Park Gym equipment or challenge obstacles

·         Introduce fitness testing and recording programs for all students

Help all children to enjoy an hour of physical activity everyday

·         Introduction of five – ten minute classroom based fitness sessions between each seat based lesson (Five a day TV fitness (Link), sworkit app, Yoga studio app)

·         Introduce a ‘fitness Friday’ (good alliteration there!) get the students to come to school in PE kit and do HRF sessions for each year group at various times before, during and after the school day and at break times that students can take part in

·         Instead of ‘Park Run’ why not have ‘school run’ – design a course around your school grounds that parents, students and teachers can complete before or after school

·         Train up playground leaders to deliver fitness based sessions; such as agility ladders, cardio games and endurance activities or to lead activities such as the ‘Five a Day’ fitness dances

The Obesity strategy rightly emphasises the importance of the individual and family in the fight against obesity but my personal opinion is that it is through schools that we can ensure real and sustainable change – if health and fitness becomes a habit, if it is seen with the upmost importance then the fightback against obesity is on!

The Childhood Obesity Strategy can be downloaded here; Childhood_obesity_2016__2__acc

By Kevin Peake

Founder of PESA; The PE and Sports Assessment Tool

 

 
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