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Sunday, 7 October, 2001, 23:25 GMT 00:25 UK
Children get active
boys playing football
A majority of children take part in organised exercise
Two out of three young children are now involved in organised physical activities at least twice a week, a survey has said.

But one in five children under the age of seven do not take part in any organised exercise.

Parents whose children are too young to go to school were the most likely to say their children never took part in any organised physical activity.

The findings are from a survey carried out for Tumble Tots - a company which runs gym sessions for children.

The group commissioned the survey to mark Activity Week, which begins 8 October.

girls' gym lesson
Experts believe physical activities help concentration
The prime minister has offered his support for the campaign.

Tony Blair said: "Participation in sport by young people is vital to develop their health, well-being and competitive spirit.

"I believe that events such as Activity Week are extremely valuable in convincing parents of the wide-ranging benefits of physical activity for their children.

"Involving children in sport and physical activity in which they have fun is one of the best ways of getting them into habits which hopefully will stay with them throughout their lives."

The survey - carried out by Gallup - found that almost half (46%) of the parents questioned never took any organised exercise themselves.

Mind and body

Most parents (51%) said it was important to develop a child's mental ability as well as their physical ability, while 43% thought developing a child's mental skills was more important.

When asked what activities they encouraged their children to do at home, 95% said reading and writing, 77% said physical activities, while 65% said computer skills.

Veronica Pereria, managing director of Tumble Tots in the UK said: "While it is encouraging that more children are at least doing some activity two to three times a week, and that many parents now believe that physical activity is as important as developing a child's mental ability, more still needs to be done.

"From recent research, we know that physical activity will maximise learning potential, so the two should really go hand in hand.

"There is still more to be done to convince parents to get active and set an example for their children."

See also:

26 Jan 01 | Education
Active children 'do better in class'
27 Mar 01 | Education
Sport linked to school success
18 Oct 00 | Education
Sport kick-starts learning
28 Feb 00 | Education
Sport 'squeezed out of schools'
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