A recent study focused on childhood obesity found that 9.9% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 13.1% overweight. In Year 6 (age 10-11) 21.0% are obese and 14.1% overweight. These figures come from the governments Health Survey for England, published earlier this year.

Childhood obesity means a number of things, and none of them are very positive. It comes with an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and breathing difficulties. That’s not mentioning the impact on children’s mental health.

It also means more unhealthy kids growing into unhealthy adults, with serious diseases more likely as time goes on. But what can schools do?

Your School Can Help Tackle Childhood Obesity

With childhood obesity on the rise what can your school do to help?

As it happens, a great deal, actually! Here are four simple steps your school can take to tackle childhood obesity.

Get out and play!

Exercise is essential for any person’s health – child or adult. Even if someone eats well or is the “ideal” weight, a lack of activity can have a negative impact on muscles, organs and joints. In addition to PE, which is required on the national curriculum, schools can encourage active play during break times too. Luckily for us, children love playing! They just need the right space and facilities to do so.

Promote cooperation and friendship

Getting children to play can be a problem if they feel isolated. Schools should encourage children to make strong friendships. Here are some ideas:

  • Icebreaker activities to introduce children from Day 1
  • Group activities in lessons
  • Team games in PE lessons
  • Change around seating plans to get children talking to different classmates
Food education

They say you are what you eat – and, to some extent, it’s true. Even the most active child will not be healthy if they aren’t eating the right food. As well as offering balanced meals and healthy snacks, schools should look to educate children about food so they make the right choices at home and in future.

Worried about squeezing it into the already-jammed timetable? Try incorporating it into other lessons, like maths, science and art.

Mental support

Being overweight can affect the mental wellbeing of children. But it can also work the other way. If a child doesn’t feel supported, they’re less likely to lead a healthy lifestyle. And where do kids look for support? Adults, of course. Make sure children are supported at school by offering them the chance to talk about any issues and by reinforcing positive thinking.

Providing the means for a healthy lifestyle

You can’t force a healthy lifestyle on children, but at school you can give them the knowledge and means to pursue it themselves. At Playcubed, we provide tailored play areas and facilities to schools across Greater London. Covering consultation, design, presentation and installation, our service makes it easy for your school to get the perfect play areas and facilities. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.