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Experts say school sports vital in getting boys off the sofa

60 public health and physical activity specialists gathered in London today [Thursday 25th November 2010]. They examined ways to get more men and boys away from the tv, computer games and social networking to beat obesity and heart disease.

Experts at the symposium, organised by the Men’s Health Forum charity and the Royal Society for Public Health, expressed their great concern at the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP’s plan to scrap funding for school sports.

Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men’s Health Forum, said:

“We need to get more boys active by moving their competitive energy from the computer screen to the sports field.”

“Already only about half of all young men are getting enough exercise to benefit their health so we cannot afford lose the facilities and encouragement that get boys and young men playing sports. At this symposium, we have heard about some fantastic work that’s getting men back in to being active but it is almost certainly harder if they did not develop the habit of exercising when they were younger.”

Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said:

“I worry that reducing funding for school sports will reduce the impact of the government’s plans to tackle the public health problems we face in this country. Sports and all sorts of physical activity are vital in preventing obesity which is a cause of heart disease and cancer.”

“School sports are vital in helping many boys stay fit and in getting them involved in competitive sports. If they do not start at that age there is less chance of them starting later in life.”

The symposium follows this year’s National Men’s Health Week which focused on getting more men more active and how health services and sports facilities can work together to improve men’s health. The Men’s Health Forum’s report ‘The One Million Man Challenge’ highlighted how and why men stop being involved in physical activity and sport and that one million men over the age of 35 in England and Wales need to be more physically active to improve their health.


1. The MHF is a charity that provides an independent and authoritative voice for male health in England and Wales and tackles the issues and inequalities affecting the health and well-being of men and boys.

2. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is an independent, multi-disciplinary organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of collective human health and well-being. Through advocacy, mediation, empowerment, knowledge and practice we advise on policy development, provide education and training services, encourage scientific research, disseminate information and certify products, training centres and processes.

3. The One Million Man Challenge is online at

4. The full range of statistics on men’s health is in Lives Too Short – the State of Men’s Health at

5. The MHF is online at: for health professionals and policy makers, and for fast, free, independent health info from the Men’s Health Forum.


Page created on November 25th, 2010

Page updated on November 25th, 2010


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