The United Kingdom, as a whole, is becoming more obese and therefore more at risk to fatal illness. That may sound like a harsh message, but it is the undeniable truth with statistic after statistic supporting such claims. It has been reported that HALF (50%) of men could well be obese by 2030 if the current trend continues (NHS, 2012). It has become such a stark realization, that there are many calls for governments around the world to make immediate and dramatic policy change to reverse a pandemic of obesity (The Guardian). But this goes deeper than just the man or woman on the street. There is a need to change the attitude and education right down to the children that are around right now, as this is where the problems are developing into real concerns. It has got to the point where, this generation of children, maybe the ones that have shorter life expectancies than their parents.


The Harsh Truth!

  1.     One out of 6 children under 14 yrs can’t swim
  2.     One in 10 children can’t ride a bike
  3.     33% have never owned a bike
  4.     79% have owned a games console
  5.     One in 4 have never run more than 400m


One study assessed 315 ten year olds in 1998 and 309 10 year olds in 2008. A total of 5% of the 1998 group could not hold their weight when hanging from a bar. In 2008 this had doubled to 10%. During the same period of time, arm strength fell by 26%, grip strength by 7% and functional sit up by 27% (Sandercock et al., 2011).


The average CV fitness level is declining in the UK at a rate of DOUBLE the global figure. These figures are collated from a study that used 600 ten year olds over a 10-year period!!

  •         Boys – 7% drop
  •         Girls – 9% drop
  •         Equivalent to 0.8% per year
  •         World predicted figure 0.4%

Research shows that young people spend an average of (Dunford, 2010):

  •         1.7 hours online per day
  •         1.5 hours playing games consoles per day
  •         2.7 hours watching TV per day

This ‘X-box’ generation are suffering, not only in the short-term with diseases such as rickets becoming more common, but their entire lives are becoming at risk to disease, poorer quality of life due to posture issues and an over all reduced quality of life.

Further to that, our sporting achievements as a nation are also at risk due to basic, fundamental movement literacy and skills such as running, jumping, throwing, kicking, catching and striking not being performed enough. These basic skills underpin any high performance development programme. Without these in place, the next Olympic Champion is going to be hard to come by with a GBR vest on.

The Truths

  1.     You can’t exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet
  2.     You can’t diet out of an unhealthy lifestyle

You CAN’T transform yourself:

  •         In 3 minutes a day with no sweat
  •         By making new years resolutions
  •         By substituting ‘Lite’ for real
  •         By exercising your ‘problem areas’
  •         By joining a club
  •         By dieting
  •         By paying the exercise guru

Research shows 

  •         Research has discovered a link between computer use in children and chronic musculoskeletal strain
  •        A rapid increase in computer use by children has exceeded the development of knowledge about the complications for the health of children.
  •         The more children use games consoles and revert to texting, the greater the incidence of joint pain (Yaziki, New York Hospital for Joint Diseases)

The positives of exercise

  •         Children taking part in 5 hours of vigorous physical activity a week had stronger academic performance in math, English, natural sciences and French than children with only 2 hours of physical activity per week!!!!
  •         Children taking part in dance activities improved their reading skills by 13 % over 6 months. This was compared to sedentary peers, who showed a 2% decrease.
  •         Children who spend an extra hour a day exercising, did better on exams than students who didn’t exercise.


The department of health (UK, 2004) recommends that children and young people should achieve:

  1.     A total of AT LEAST 60 minutes of AT LEAST moderate intensity each and every day.
  2.    It’s the attitude and desire to change that promotes a permanent change to lifestyle.
  3.     You have to WANT IT!
  4.     It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet or new regime that can begin to turn these statistics around.
  5.     Anyone can achieve, you just have to have the mental toughness to begin that change.

Wriiten by  Richard Husseiny

Richard Husseiny is a fully qualified and experienced Sports Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Coach, and he has extensive experience in youth athletic development. Encompassed in that is the skill to identify movement deficiencies, that can lead to not only athletic limitations, but also lead to a potentially reduced quality of life.  Richards work has helped athletes at all levels – from youth sports to the professional and Olympic ranks – achieve their highest levels of performance in a variety of sports.

Richard is strength and conditioning coach for the English Institute of Sport, working with the Olympic diving squad in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic games as well as being right on your door stop, here at Coast. Why not take advantage of his skill and expertise while you can.

What can we do at Coast?

Our approach at Coast, not only covers the physical symptoms of your pain or dysfunction, but also aids in the change of lifestyle needed to improve your quality of life. However, the only person that can make that change is you. Make the most of the opportunities that are around you, such as those at Coast. Change can only begin if you want it to. We are here to help you in your goals whatever they may be.