TOTTENHAM ACTIVE SCHOOLS PROJECTDuring the pilot stage the project will focus on the nine Tottenham Schools that participated in the Sport Inspired Games at Tottenham Green Pools and Fitness in May. The assumption being that these schools have a proactive attitude towards encouraging the children attending their schools to do more physical activity. The Tottenham Active Schools project is designed to:
- Prevent and reduce levels of childhood obesity;
- Increase levels of fitness amongst the children attending in the participating schools;
- Increase children's awareness of sports opportunities and appreciation of physical activity;
- Encourage in the children a love of movement and a general positive appreciation of a healthy lifestyle;
- Lead to sustained higher levels of physical activity as the children grow into adulthood.
The need and desirability of the project is rooted in the recognition of the huge potential physical activity has to impact on a wide variety of health and wellbeing outcomes. However, despite efforts to encourage children to be more physically active, there is a worrying trend, with 90% of boys and 84% of girls aged 5-15 years in England not meeting the current physical activity recommendations.It is very likely (and Tottenham's high childhood obesity statistics strongly indicate this) that levels of physical activity participation; is even lower amongst Tottenham children. Yet there is a very positive association with physical activity and children's cardio-metabolic health, muscular strength, bone health and cardio respiratory fitness. Additionally there is a strong correlation between good levels of physical activity and physiological outcomes such as improved self-esteem, reduced anxiety-stress, better academic achievement, better cognitive functioning and better attention-concentration. Further there is strong evidence that social outcomes such as confidence and peer acceptance have very positive associations with physical activity. In the longer term if people meet the recommended levels of physical activity this is associated with reductions in obesity, cardio vascular disease, cancer, hypertension and the development of type 2 diabetes. Thus if we can turn this tide of inactivity - the outcomes - both in the immediate sense (happier, healthier children who perform better at school) and in the longer term (a community not paralysed by increasing amounts of obesity, diabetes and other poor health) for the individuals, the school and the community will be hugely beneficial.