A level playing field

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Social Justice looks at equalising access to sport and exercise for young people after Covid-19.

At the individual level, sport is a protective factor against ills of the body and mind and helps to keep people healthy. At a local level, sport is often the glue that holds communities together. At a societal level, sports can function as a weapon for social justice and transformation, contributing to positive long-term outcomes for individuals, for the community and especially for young people. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Department for Education (DfE) published a joint School Sport and Activity Action Plan in 2019,1 aiming to lay out a framework for improved PE provision in schools and a more joined-up approach between school and community providers. A key objective is to make the Chief Medical Officer’s recommend “60 minutes a day” of physical activity as widespread and recognisable as the “5 a day” dietary recommendation for fruit and vegetables. Clearly, the effect of lockdown and the public response to COVID-19 has frustrated these goals. While the objectives of the Action Plan are welcome, the Centre for Social Justice argues that the time is right for a more radical reform of physical education and sport provision for young people; there is a looming health crisis due to inactivity during lockdown and due to illnesses other than coronavirus going untreated. Given the UK’s existing obesity crisis, the CSJ is calling upon the government for bold action.

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