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University expertise in childhood inactivity helps guide new Government strategy

Recommendations on how to tackle childhood inactivity made by Loughborough University and the British Heart Foundation National Centre (BHFNC) have been included in the Government’s new obesity strategy – released today (August 18).

The Childhood Obesity Action Plan sets out measures the Government will take over the next ten years to reduce the number of overweight and obese children in the UK.

In January this year the BHFNC, which is based in University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS), released The Best Start in Life: A Manifesto for Physical Activity in the Early years

Within the manifesto the BHFNC and University called on policy makers to ensure that every child under five has access to high quality physical activity opportunities from birth, and to embed early years physical activity into Government policy nationally, regionally and locally.

Following the launch of the manifesto and subsequent discussions with key Government officials, two of the recommendations made have been taken forward and included in the childhood obesity strategy.

The manifesto called for:

  • Comprehensive awareness raising, to ensure health and education professionals and families are aware of, and act upon, the Chief Medical Officers' physical activity guidelines for the early years (2011)
  • Greater emphasis on the importance of physical activity across the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum

What the Government’s Childhood Obesity Action plan states:

  • In 2017, the government will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the early years physical activity guidelines amongst early years practitioners and parents
  • They will update the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to make specific reference to the UK Chief Medical Officers guidelines for physical activity in the early years.

Speaking about the new strategy Loughborough University’s Early Years Project Officer Natalie Matthewman said: “I’m delighted to see that our recommendations been taken forward and the Early Years Foundation Stage will be updated to include specific reference to the physical activity guidelines. It’s great news that early years physical activity is starting to get the recognition it deserves. Although these are small steps forwards they are certainly positive ones.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/117

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in theGuardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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