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Triple Olympic Champion Max Whitlock calls for greater support to tackle child inactivity

Triple Olympic Champion Max Whitlock calls for greater support to tackle child inactivity

Team GB gymnast & Olympic Gold medallist Max Whitlock visits school to raise awareness of poor activity levels amongst children.

Over 620,000 young Londoners are not doing enough physical activity for their health and wellbeing. 

Supermarket Aldi is supporting London Sport by helping schools provide food and refreshments to complement free activity sessions for pupils.

Yesterday, Team GB Olympic champion Max Whitlock visited a primary school in West London to raise awareness of child inactivity within the capital and to call for better access to sport and physical activity.  

A report published by charity London Sport showed that less than half of children achieve the recommended levels of sport and physical activity, and 1 in 12 do no activity at all.  

After a gymnastics masterclass, basketball, and other free after-school sessions with pupils at Colville Primary School in Kensington & Chelsea, Whitlock discussed the importance of providing opportunities for children to be active: 

“This is not about growing the next generation of British athletes, it’s about ensuring every young person is able to use sport as a way to improve their health and wellbeing, socialise, and have fun in a safe environment.  

With the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many, we need to make sure, now more than ever, that we broaden access to sport and physical activity, and break down the barriers that so many communities face.” 

To combat the inactivity crisis, charity London Sport is funding hundreds of schools like Colville Primary to help improve access to sport and physical activity. Through the Department for Education‘s Opening School Facilities Fund, London Sport will distribute £5.7m over the next three years to over 200 schools in London and will enable facilities at schools to be opened during non-school hours, broadening the offer of extra-curricular and out-of-school physical activities available to pupils and the wider community. 

Colville Primary, like thousands of other schools across the country, also has a high number of students who receive free school meals. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, there is widespread concern about the health and wellbeing of children, many of whom do not have adequate or affordable access to sport and physical activity outside of school, and many of whom face food poverty. 

As part of its commitment to make fresh, healthy, affordable food accessible to all, Aldi is supporting London Sport by providing food vouchers to a number of schools being funded through the Opening School Facilities programme, which will go towards healthy snacks and refreshments for children and young people taking part in the free sports sessions provided. 

According to London Sport, children in the most deprived areas in the capital are three times as likely to be inactive compared to those in the least deprived areas. Childhood obesity is also a major issue, as one in four children leaving primary school are considered obese. 

With nearly four million children in England not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity – and over 620,000 in London – there is real concern about the future health and wellbeing of young people.  

Emily Robinson, Chief Executive of London Sport, said: 

“We know the positive impact that being active can have for young people. As well as improving physical health, an active lifestyle can improve mental health and wellbeing, reduce the risk of long-term health conditions and obesity, and even help children perform better at school. 

“While programmes like the Opening Schools Facilities Fund can have a huge impact for schools like Colville Primary, we need to see bolder solutions to tackle inactivity on a wider scale. By helping children build healthy habits for the future, we can improve the lives of young people, bolster the nation’s health, and potentially save the NHS billions of pounds.” 


For further information or interview opportunities, contact Anil Manji, Head of Communications & Marketing, London Sport | [email protected] | 07942581014

About London Sport

London Sport is a charity that exists to help all Londoners live longer, healthier and happier lives through being active. Our focus is on children and adults in the most deprived communities who face the greatest challenges of inequality.

With physical inactivity responsible for 1 in 6 premature deaths, we want to help every Londoner find their way to move more. Supported by Sport England and the Mayor of London, we collaborate with London’s local authorities and other organisations to provide better access to sport and physical activity across the capital.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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