Healthy behaviours in childhood and the teenage years set patterns for later life and, if acquired early, can have a dramatic impact on well-being. Nearly a quarter of all reception-aged children and one third of Year 6 pupils are overweight or obese and it has been documented that inactivity causes nine per cent of premature mortality.

What can schools do?

Identify children who are the least-active, who are overweight or who are at risk of obesity and design targeted physical activity interventions specifically for them. The focus needs to be on enjoyment, so engage these pupils by offering a breadth of appealing activities that include plenty of exercise and promote wider health and well-being messages in a young people-centred environment.