The wellbeing of English school children is being affected by the amount of time they spend in front of TV screens.
This is according to a new Public Health England briefing paper, which has found a link between children's screen time and lower levels of wellbeing. It highlights the importance of keeping kids active and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
According to the report, over 70 per cent of young people in the UK are failing to undertake the recommended level of one hour's physical activity each day. On top of this, less than 25 per cent of UK school children take more than an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day, which places the UK only tenth out of 29 OECD nations.
The benefits of being active are pronounced, as youngsters will not only perform better in school by being more alert and able to listen to teachers, but also have lower levels of worry, anxiety and depression.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England's director of health and wellbeing, said there are a number of complex factors at work, including youngsters' social, family and financial circumstances. These can all affect their chances of taking a suitable amount of exercise.
Lil Caprani, director of communications at the Children's Society, added: "When we asked children about their wellbeing as part of our Good Childhood Report, we found a strong association with being active and being happy.
"Things like cycling, swimming or playing football all had a clear relationship, but simple things like just going for walks were associated with higher wellbeing."
It comes after similar research carried out by University College London found seven-year-olds are failing to get enough physical exercise. Some 7,000 kids were monitored for a week as part of the study and girls were found to be less active than boys.
No biological reason was found for this, which led scientists to suggest social factors - such as there not being enough girl-themed games in school - to be the reason behind the difference.
Posted by Tim Coleman