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Angus gets physical

Children in Angus are exceeding the national target for physical activity, thanks to the work of eight active schools co-ordinators.

A survey to establish the impact of Angus Council's active schools programme has shown that 93 per cent of pupils in primary 6 and primary 7 have at least one hour of physical activity a day - well above the 80 per cent target set by Sportscotland nationally - and 70 per cent had two hours a day.

Angus is the first authority in Scotland to carry out a survey to measure the impact of the programme, extended throughout Scotland over the past year.

From walking to school to playground games, and from school sports clubs to links with community clubs and programmes, the eight co-ordinators have been working with schools and local communities to encourage exercise among the young.

During a visit to Borrowfield primary in Montrose, Stewart Harris, acting chief executive of Sportscotland, said: "I am delighted that the active schools programme is proving to be a success within Angus Council and that it is starting to make a real difference in improving children's activity levels.

"We recognise the need to establish and maintain healthy, active lifestyles from an early age which not only contributes to the health of the young but can also shape their involvement in physical activity later in life."

Pupils at Borrowfield are said to have responded enthusiastically, with nearly every pupil now walking to school on "Fit Fridays" and many asking their parents to do so on other days. They also take part in daily activities such as cycling, athletics, football (for boys and girls), and badminton.

The survey also found that:

* 62 per cent use active travel to get to and from school on all five days of the week.

* 43 per cent attend at least one of the physical activity clubs within their school.

* 80 per cent take part in physical activity outwith school at least three or more times a week.

* 47 per cent take part in at least 20 minutes of the authority's daily physical activity programme on four or five days of the week.

The number of volunteers at physical activity clubs in schools has increased by 48 per cent, from 112 to 166. The number of physical activity clubs across all age groups has increased by 47 per cent, from 97 to 143.

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