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Sports bodies send open letter to political leaders over 'public health emergency'

By Tom Walker    11 Dec 2019
The letter calls for investment in teacher training and school sport facilities / Shutterstock

More than 40 sports industry leaders from across the UK have signed an open letter urging the main political parties to address the “alarming public health emergency” of inactivity among young people.

Addressed directly to the leaders of all the main UK political parties, the letter calls for investment in teacher training and school sport facilities to ensure every young person enjoys 60 minutes of sport and physical activity every day.

"On behalf of the country’s leading sport organisations, we ask for your commitment to tackle an alarming trend," the letter reads.

"The wellbeing of young people across the UK is in decline. This comes at a time when they are increasingly missing out on the benefits of sport and play.

"Only one in five young people is active for 60 minutes every day and Physical Education is being squeezed from the timetable in many secondary schools.

"We believe that the inactivity of young people, and the associated problems this is posing for their physical and mental health and wellbeing, is nothing short of a public health emergency.

"Too many are growing up overweight or obese, unhappy, lost and lonely.

"We ask for your public commitment that, should your party form the next government, you would set out a long-term, bold and measurable plan to:

i) Tackle the decline in young people’s wellbeing through harnessing the power of play, sport and physical educationii) Ensure every young person enjoys an hour a day of sport and physical activity, backed up by good quality teacher training and investment in school sport facilities."

Signatories of the letter include Barry Horne, CEO, Activity Alliance; Huw Edwards, CEO, ukactive; Lisa Wainwright, CEO, Sport & Recreation Alliance; and Mark Gannon, CEO, UK Coaching.

All the major national governing bodies have also signed the letter – including Chris Jones, CEO, England Athletics; Jane Allen, CEO, British Gymnastics; Jane Nickerson, CEO, Swim England; Scott Lloyd, CEO, LTA: and Tom Harrison, CEO, ECB.

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