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Lack of child exercise highlighted
Half of all seven-year-olds do not get enough exercise - and girls are far less active than boys, research shows.
Only 51% of all seven-year-olds in the UK achieve the recommended hour of exercise every day, with the figure being just 38% in girls compared with 63% in boys.
Half of this age group is also sedentary for an average of 6.4 hours or more every day, experts found.
The research, published in the online journal BMJ Open, found that children of Indian origin and those living in Northern Ireland are among the least physically active of all seven-year-olds.
Experts from institutions including University College London's Institute of Child Health examined data for 6,497 children. The youngsters wore an accelerometer to measure exercise levels which was attached to an elastic belt round their waist. It was only removed when bathing or when the children went to bed.
In total, the experts were able to record 36,309 days of data based on the children wearing the accelerometer for at least 10 hours a day over the course of a week.
The analysis showed that on average, across the entire sample, children managed the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, and that they took an average of 10,299 steps.
But half the children were sedentary for six or more hours every day, and half did not reach the daily recommended exercise target.
Girls were more sedentary and less active than boys while only one in three (33%) children of Bangladeshi origin met the recommended daily exercise minimum.
Among the four UK countries, children in Northern Ireland were the least active, with just 43% managing the recommended 60 minutes, while children in Scotland were most likely (52.5%) to achieve the target.