Guernsey comes 12th in the world of childhood physical activity

Guernsey recently contributed to a global collection of reports from the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) which compared 57 countries from six continents to assess levels and trends in child and adolescent physical activity across the world.

The Guernsey report is entitled ‘Moving in the right direction’ and can be viewed here: 'Active Healthy Kids Report Card' 

The moving in the right direction report recognised improvements in physical activity in Guernsey since the last report card in 2018, and that these results show that the collective efforts from the community in promoting and enabling children and young people’s physical activity so far are beginning to pay off, with Guernsey being ranked 12th in the leader board. 

Full results and analysis can be found here: Global Matrix 4.0 Physical Activity Report Card Grades for Children and Adolescents: Results and Analyses From 57 Countries and a results table can be seen here: Table of results.

Guernsey has been ranked joint 12th with Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Zimbabwe. 

“While it is very promising to see this excellent result it is important to note that, in some areas, the grades show that a significant number of our children and young people are not moving enough nor often enough to reap the mental, physical, and social benefits of regular physical activity. Like elsewhere, our children become less active as they get older.

We're pleased to have been ranked alongside some countries with a great track-record of activity levels such as New Zealand. Guernsey has many opportunities to be active, and at the Commission we continue to work on making being active more often easier for all age groups.”

Alun Williams, Be Active Education Lead and Chairperson of Guernsey's report's working group

The key findings from the overall global survey concludes: "Children and adolescents around the world are not moving enough to promote healthy growth and development, and the COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse, according to a global report released today. The report revealed that modern lifestyles – increases in digital screen time, the growing urbanization of communities, and the rise in automation of previously manual tasks – are contributing to a pervasive yet unequally distributed public health problem that must be recognized as a global priority."

Locally,  the first post-pandemic Children and Young People’s Survey is expected to be published later this year and the results will provide an indication of the pandemic’s impact on physical activity levels. 

Global identified priorities for action include:

- Increasing opportunities for being physically active at school (active recesses, extracurricular programs, active breaks), increasing the amount of physical education per week, and making physical education a compulsory subject for all school levels. 

- Providing free access to public spaces, green space, playgrounds, sport facilities, and active transportation infrastructures, while addressing the issue of safety of the environment as a priority.

 - Developing physical activity policies that provide more equitable, accessible, inclusive, flexible, and attractive sport program opportunities by specifically targeting girls, children, and adolescents with a disability, from low-income families, and/or facing segregation or marginalization, as well as adolescents to reduce the age-related physical activity decline.

- Physical activity policies and strategies require better implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. This includes providing regular evaluations of progress towards meeting the World Health Organization’s targets to reduce physical inactivity by 15% by 2030. Greater transparency and clearer accountability related to the implementation of policies is needed. 

These priorities match with the current goals for the Commission’s Be Active team, in their work to support more people to be more active more often. 

Further exploration of these priorities can be seen at page 11 of the report, here.