Protective parents are stopping their children from playing sports because of fears they could be injured.

More than half of parents surveyed considered rugby, hockey, horse riding and swimming as dangerous sports, while seven per cent said their children did not play outdoors at all.

One in seven parents said they would stop their child playing rugby because of the possibility of injury, as health campaigners criticised the ‘cotton wool culture’ and warned activity was essential to children.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said that the benefits of exercise outweighed the risks of injury.

He said: ‘It’s a tragedy the way that we are protecting our children, cocooning our children.

‘If children don’t go out and exercise, they will become fat,’ he told The Times.

The survey of 2,000 parents, by Omega Pharma’s Generations of Care campaign, found that a third of children spent less than five hours a week playing outside.More than half of parents surveyed considered rugby, hockey, horse riding and swimming as dangerous sports

It is not only protective parents who have contributed to the decline of childrens’ sports.

Competitive parents are stripping the enjoyment from school sport, a leading headteacher has claimed.

Leonard Blom, headmaster of St Aubyn’s School, Woodford Green, Essex, said that pushy mothers and fathers are making exhibitions of themselves and damaging children’s confidence.

They are losing sight of the importance of ‘good sportsmanship’ and setting a poor example to others, he said.

Mr Blom, whose school has 500 boys and girls aged three to 13, urged parents to be proud when their child does well and ‘make sure that, win or lose, you love them and are not disappointed with their performance’.

Parents who do not allow their children to exercise are contributing to a global decline in youngsters’ cardiovascular fitness.

Today’s children have a cardiovascular fitness 15 per cent lower than their parents did at the same age, research found in November.

They would also run a mile around 90 seconds slower than children 30 years ago could.

Researchers found children’s cardiovascular fitness is declining worldwide, and the decline in running fitness may indicate worse health in adulthood.

The main reason is an increase in body fat.

Lead author Dr Grant Tomkinson, senior lecturer at the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences, said: ‘If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life.

 

Source: Daily Mail