HC Deb 09 April 2003 vol 403 c319W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce a national fitness assessment for 11-year-olds; and if he will make a statement. [105599]

Ms Blears

While we are sympathetic to the need to identify children and young people who are insufficiently active to benefit their health and offer appropriate interventions, we have no plans to introduce a national fitness assessment for 11-year-olds.

Our inquiries show that the benefits of a national fitness assessment for 11-year-olds would be limited and such an assessment would be difficult to implement. Fitness testing in children and young people reflects genetic and maturational factors rather than providing a meaningful measure of individual fitness. For the majority of II-year-olds, measures of physical activity behaviour are more relevant and appropriate than physical fitness assessments.

The Government are committed to improving the fitness of our young people. To this end. the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have agreed a public service agreement target with the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit to enhance the take up of sporting opportunities by five to 16-year-olds. The aim is to increase the percentage of school children in England who spend a minimum of two hours each week on high quality physical education and school sport within and beyond the curriculum to 75 per cent. by 2006.

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