Children still not fit enough, additional sport activities proposed

Ljubljana – Preliminary measurements of children’s fitness this school year suggest that the situation has not improved after schools reopened post Covid. The head of the national project for monitoring children’s fitness, Gregor Starc, proposes one hour of sports a day to be introduced at schools.

Results of measurements of children’s fitness, which are conducted from the beginning of April until mid-May, suggest that children are doing particularly poorly in endurance and hand coordination.

The results of this year’s measurements are ten times worse than before the Covid-19 epidemic, Starc told the STA. He said this conclusion had been made based on measurements conducted in less than 10% of schools.

The final results, which he expects will not be much better, will be presented at the end of the month. “Children are slower in movement and in thinking, so this year’s school grades will be bad.”

Starc noted that even after schools reopened, children were often absent due to quarantines. He sees no other reason for such poor performance of children “after ten years of positive trends”.

According to him, a quick and simple solution would be to introduce one hour of sports activity a day for all school children.

Between 2011 and 2018, a project dubbed Healthy Lifestyle was carried out, bringing one hour of sports a day for children and the results were good, he noted.

He believes it would be possible to revive this project with a new call for applications before the next school year, but he finds this very unlikely given that a new government is to take over.

If children stay at their current level of fitness, they will enter the labour market with up to 15% lower work efficiency than previous generations, which means billions in losses for the economy and a huge burden for the health system, he warned, calling for action.

Currently, children in the first six years of primary school have three hours of sport activity a week, and only two in the last three years.