Clevedon boy stars in BBC TV show to promote fitness

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 January 2018

Billy Sharp with Kate Grey.

Billy Sharp with Kate Grey.

Contributed

A nine-year-old Clevedon boy has appeared on a prime time BBC TV programme about child fitness.

Billy Sharp featured on Inside Out West last week to mark the launch of Super Movers, a campaign being run in partnership with the Premier League.

Billy is visually impaired, meaning he will struggle to continue playing sports as he gets older, so the programme encouraged him to take up running as a way of staying fit and active.

He is guided around the park run at Ashton Court by paralympic swimmer Kate Grey.

The campaign has been launched following research which shows fitness among children has dropped so dramatically over the past two decades that the least fit child in a class of 30 tested in 1998 would be among the five fittest in a class of 30 tested today.

Sports scientist Gavin Sandercock said: “If we could time travel to hold a one-mile race so today’s parents and their children were both 10 years old, mums and dads would win it by about 90 seconds.

“In more affluent areas there are only one or two obese children per primary school class – and this figure is falling.

“In contrast, about a third of children have clinically low aerobic fitness.

“Today’s children consume 30 per cent fewer calories than their parents did 20 years ago as well as eating less sugar and saturated fat.

“The biggest difference between children of today and their parents is what they do with their time; less of which is spent outside and more of which is spent indoors on sedentary pursuits involving screen-based media.”

Figures published by Public Health England earlier this year show more than 24 per cent of children starting school in North Somerset are either overweight or obese, while this rises to almost 30 per cent among pupils in year six.

Dr Sandercock added: “We’ve known for a long time children who are active do better at school and our recent research has shown the correlation between how fit children are and their cognitive processing speed.

“We also know increasing children’s physical activity levels makes children happier, better behaved and can even help their exam results.”

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