Only one in six children in England are getting the recommended amount of exercise every day of the week, according to new research.
A survey by Sport England found that only 17.5 per cent of children aged 5-16 (1.2 million) are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guideline of at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.
A further 25.7 per cent (1.8 million children) don't meet the threshold because although they hit the total amount of exercise recommended in a week, they don't do 60 minutes on every single day.
However, 32.9 per cent (2.3 million) do less than an average of 30 minutes per day.
Sport England’s definition of exercise includes walking, fitness activities, dance, cycling, sporting activities, scooting and active play, inside and outside school.
The survey is the largest ever of its kind, based on responses from 130,000 children in England during the academic year 2017-18.
Tim Hollingsworth, the chief executive of Sport England, said the study revealed the scale of the challenge to get the nation’s children more active.
He said: “Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity.
“This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us.
“We all care about the health and wellbeing of our children. These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required.”
The survey found that children from more affluent families are more active than those in the least affluent.
Thirty-nine per cent of children in the least affluent families do less than 30 minutes of activity per day compared with 26 per cent of children from the most affluent families.
The survey found that 77 per cent of children can swim 25 metres unaided by the time they leave primary school. However, 86 per cent of children from affluent families can do this compared with only 42 per cent from the least affluent families.
Sports minister Mims Davies said: “While it is encouraging that 3 million children do at least an average of 60 minutes of sport or physical activity every day, the number of young people who are not doing enough is simply unacceptable.
"Together with the sport sector, parents and our local communities, we must build a comprehensive and cross-government offer to create a truly active nation."