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Outcry at plan to scrap school sports funding

Public health and physical activity specialists at today's MHF symposium on men and physical activity expressed great concern at plans to scrap funding for school sports.

The meeting, organised by the Men’s Health Forum and the Royal Society for Public Health, examined ways to get more men and boys away from the TV, computer games and social networking to beat obesity and heart disease. Delegates felt the plans announced this week by the secretary of state for education, Michael Gove MP would make this task more difficult.

MHF CEO Peter Baker 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 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.

Page created on November 25th, 2010

Page updated on November 25th, 2010