Department for Health

Promoting physical activity and well-being in children and adolescents

Fewer than 5% of children in the UK achieve recommended levels of physical activity

Girl rock climbingLow levels of physical activity in children and adolescents will have enormous economic and social costs in the future.

Research conducted by Dr Sean Cumming, Dr Fiona Gillison, Chris Riddoch and Dr Martyn Standage has influenced policy and practice regarding the promotion of physical activity and wellbeing in youth.

Based on research co-produced by our staff at the University of Bath, Canadian and UK governments have revised their physical activity guidelines and recommendations for children and adolescents. In Canada, these revised physical activity guidelines have been used by the not-for-profit organisation ParticipACTION as the basis for multi-million dollar multimedia advertising campaign which generated more than 100 million earned media impressions. These revised guidelines are also being used in the measurement and monitoring of national trends in physical activity in large national surveys in Canada. In the UK, revised physical activity guidelines have been directly distributed to key stakeholders and more broadly disseminated to the public via NHS Choices and national charities (British Heart Foundation).

We have also influenced policy and practice in the UK. For example, our research contributed to the Be-the-Best-You-Can-Be London 2012 initiative that is now embedded within the National Curriculum and has already been delivered to over 115,000 pupils across the UK in the first two years of the programme alone.

Impact case study

This research was submitted to the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Download impact case study.