Researcher presents findings on how to get kids moving
7 February 2017 - Mark Dorey
A researcher from Leeds Beckett has presented findings from a study, which explored how UK children spend their leisure time, at an international conference.
Helen Ingle, a Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion in the School of Health & Community Studies, presented findings from the Getting Kids Moving study at the second Children’s Physical Activity and Sport Conference (CIAPSE 2) held in Jyväskylä, Finland in January 2017.
In her presentation, Helen outlined the research findings which provide recommendations for families, policy-makers and schools for helping children and families to be more physically active. The study was commissioned by Fererro and involved focus groups with children from schools across England and Wales as well as an online questionnaire for parents.
On presenting at the conference, Helen said: “It was a great pleasure to visit Finland and present findings from the Getting Kids Moving study. Conference delegates were predominantly from Europe, with some also from the USA and Africa. It was very interesting to hear about the different approaches to promoting physical activity in children, and I think we can learn a lot from the Nordic countries such as policies to promote family time and built environments that support active living.”
Results from the study showed that few children are aware of the physical activity recommendations despite recognising the importance of physical activity. The study also showed that screen time dominates leisure time, with older boys the heaviest users. Few children had rules to limit screen use, although many recognised the negative aspects of screen use.
In her presentation, Helen recommended that families reinforced positive physical activity messages and support, without focusing on body image. She urged parents to encourage and help older children to stay physically active as well as setting screen time limits for children. Recommendations for policy-makers included ensuring that our environments are designed to facilitate active living, through providing safe places to play, walk and cycle. Schools were also advised to promote ‘park and walk to school’ schemes and have an ‘open school field’ policy to encourage active play after school.
The first CIAPSE conference was held in Liège, Belgium, in 2014. The main theme of the CIAPSE congress focuses on children younger than 12 years of age. Reflections and discussions at this year’s conference focused on the key period in early childhood, when children start to take part in different kinds of physical and sporting activities. The challenges within early childhood are crucial, as this is the time when relevant and appropriate practices can establish the solid foundations that children need for encouragement in order for them to take pleasure in physical activities in their daily lives as well as a part of organised sport.
Helen is Course Leader for the MSc Public Health & Health Promotion (Distance Learning Course), and teaches on numerous undergraduate and postgraduate modules. Her research interests include physical activity and gender identity. Helen has a background working in the NHS as a Health Promotion Specialist / Public Health Practitioner. She worked for 14 years across North and East Yorkshire in various public health related roles, covering topics such as physical activity promotion, weight management, falls and accident prevention, nutrition and mental health.
The Getting Kids Moving project was funded by Ferrero’s +Sport Move and Learn Project, and was led by Helen and Research Assistant, Susan Coan.
Ferrero’s + Sport Move and Learn Project is a not-for-profit initiative, funded by Ferrero and run in partnership with the Football League Trust, to encourage children to be active and healthy. The aim of the +Sport Move and Learn Project is to increase the levels of physical activity, promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle amongst children.