The UK Active research shows UK parents are attributing excessive screen time, lack of local opportunities and lack of motivation all as factors in their struggle to get children more active during school holidays, with 90% saying smart technology is partly to blame.
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health issues of the 21st century.
Alarmingly, 42 million pre-school children are now overweight globally. Despite an array of research highlighting the positive effects of active lifestyles, the majority of children and young people remain physically inactive with an increasing prevalence of sedentary behaviour. Overweight children are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, which in turn are associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability.
Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom commenced a study in 2015 that put physical activity for children under the microscope. They began to test whether well-structured programming could help alleviate childhood inactivity and the resulting issues.
The six-week study involved 139 children from four schools in the UK, two schools ran the Les Mills BORN TO MOVE™ programme, with two schools acting as a control. Participants, aged ten and eleven, took part in two 30-minute BORN TO MOVE sessions each week in addition to one regular PE lesson. At the end of the six week period the children were evaluated on the effectiveness of the BORN TO MOVE programme on selected physical activity, fitness and health outcomes. In addition the BORN TO MOVE pupils and class teachers provided qualitative evaluations of the programme.
Initial results from the study are overwhelmingly positive. Kids that had previously indicated aspects of insecure behavioural tendencies significantly improved personal self efficacy following participation in the BORN TO MOVE classes. The BORN TO MOVE group also demonstrated positive improvements in muscular fitness, intrinsic motivation and engaged in more physical activity for a significantly greater percentage of lesson time than the children participating in regular PE. Class teachers stated the programme increases challenge, enjoyment, teacher child interactions and improvements in confidence.
Janine Phillips, the creative director behind BORN TO MOVE, believes that this is because the programme is built on a foundation of fun. “The classes are designed to captivate toddlers through to teens by combining a motivating mix of age-appropriate movement and music that is jam-packed with laughter, singing and fun.”
Phillips says each class teaches motor skills that improve agility, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility and speed. “The classes are designed to allow children to discover the joy of movement and set them up with healthy habits for the future.”
Notes to editors
About BORN TO MOVE
BORN TO MOVE is a series of movement-based classes segmented into five age groups, with music and choreography designed to meet the unique needs of each developmental stage, from toddlers to teens. The classes are updated three times a year and are designed to plug into young people’s innate need to move. They build confidence and foundation fitness skills through movement, imagination and games that are set to the magic of music.
The initiative is led by Dr Jackie Mills MD, a fitness and nutrition expert who heads Les Mills’ creative team. Program development is managed by Anna Zahn, child movement specialist and Janine Phillips, a specialist in fitness training with 25 years’ experience. Teenagers Taine and Corrah Phillips provide valuable input into the music and choreography.
About Les Mills
 World Health Organisation 2013