Getting Kids To Step In Right Direction

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250 schools in deprived areas across the country will join the 'Schools on the Move' National Pedometer Programme.

Between September 2007 and March 2008, 45,000 pedometers will be distributed to encourage schoolchildren to become more active and help reduce levels of obesity.

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

"Pedometers have been proven to increase the amount of physical activity undertaken by not only young people but by their families as well. When this scheme was piloted, we found that children were so keen to improve their step count they often persuaded their families to get more active by going for things like a country walk, or visiting local fitness clubs.

"Three out of ten boys and four out of ten girls are not achieving the recommended physical activity levels. Pedometers are a fun and simple way for children to develop an interest in keeping fit and get into the habit of exercise. We have found they appeal particularly to children who wouldn't normally do much physical activity."

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All schools will have access to online resources that can be used inside and outside the classroom. Children will be able to chart their pedometer progress by logging onto a dedicated website that will help them set step targets and understand what impact being active has on their health.

A pilot study of pedometers has shown that they do increase children's levels of physical activity and that they are particularly effective at encouraging less active children to become fitter.

Schools will use pedometers as a tool to support a wide range of curriculum topics and to increase pupils' awareness of the need to be active.

Steve Grainger, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:

"As well as being a great way of increasing young people's levels of physical activity, the use of pedometers through the National School Pedometer Programme is enabling schools to engage pupils with a range of subjects, such as IT, Maths and Geography.

"By bringing physical activity into the classroom in a fun and innovative way, young people can be shown the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the positive impact being active will have on them throughout their lives."

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