Survey says under 5s need to exercise more

Parents and children at one of the Active Hastings sessions
Parents and children at one of the Active Hastings sessions

LITTLE more than half of youngsters living in the most deprived parts of Hastings are getting the recommended hour of exercise each day.

More than 1,000 families with children under five were quizzed about their lifestyles by Hastings Borough Council’s Active Hastings scheme.

The survey was targeted at families living in the less well-off areas of town, such as Hollington and Ore, with the aim of finding out what activities the council could put on to encourage more people to join in.

And although 66 per cent of parents felt their youngsters were doing enough physical exercise, only 53 per cent said their children were hitting the suggested target of an hour a day during the week.

The figure for weekends was slightly higher, with 59 per cent claiming their kids exercised for an hour or more.

And when asked about what activities their children did before and after school, just 26 per cent said they regularly ran about or played in an active way - with many opting instead for an evening in front of the television or games console.

Even at weekends less than half (37 per cent) said their youngsters took part in an organised activity like football or dancing.

Interestingly, the way parents viewed their child’s activity levels depended on the number of children they had and also the age of parent.

Parents with one or two children were more likely to see their children as being active enough already, whereas parents with three or four children were more likely to feel that their children needed to take part in more physical activity.

Of parents aged under 30, 70 per cent thought their children did enough exercise compared to just 60 per cent of parents aged over 30.

The survey also asks parents to list the main stumbling blocks which stopped their children getting physical exercise.

The three most common answers given were cost, lack of time and lack of transport.

And parents were also encouraged to list the sort of activities they would like to see more of in the local area, with gymnastics, swimming and trampolining coming out on top.

Active Hastings staff now plan to use the findings to come up with a host of new sessions.