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People’s lifestyles are constantly changing all of the time. Sometimes it can be to do with personal situations or the facilities that are on offer to them in their local area and this depends on where different people live as well. The government have created a white paper. A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. They are used in politics and business. They can also be a government report outlining policy1.

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The white paper that the government has drawn up states what the government wants to achieve in the near and far future. The government have also released something called “choosing activity” and this is the government’s action plan for improving the health of the nation and its activity levels. ‘It pledges to achieve 50% participation in physical activity and sport by 2011 and 70% by 2020’2. Within this assignment I will be talking about the needs and changing lifestyles of the age of the nation and how this affects the leisure industry.

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‘95% of people know that physical activity is important to their health. Unfortunately, only 28% of people know they should be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. ‘3 Encouraging Children To Exercise One of the promise that affects children within the pledge it that ‘physical activity and nutrition will be incorporated as core elements of the healthy schools programme – 50% of schools are to be healthy by 2006 and 100% by 2009. ‘ 4

There are many problems that can occur with this method of trying to get children active and some of them are that children “need to be interested for long enough to make a difference”. 5 This basically means that clubs that children are attending should be exciting, varied, imaginative and resourceful in order for the children to be interested and want to attend them without getting bored and uninterested. The programs for children’s clubs need to be constantly changed and continually made new and exciting in order for children to stay interested.

‘Andy Jackson says that to encourage children to come back for more, every activity has to be suitable for all levels of fitness and incorporate strong elements of fun. ‘6 7In the article Early Start it talks about a scheme called body4life and this is a programme designed for children aged 8-13 years old. The children from the scheme are referred onto a 12 week programme and this is if their body mass index (BMI) is 30 or over. This means that these children are likely to be overweight and obese and therefore this scheme could help them greatly with their weight and make the nation more healthy.

This scheme also allows the children’s parents the chance to attend hourly sessions that talk about nutrition because it is the parents that give their children their breakfast, lunch and dinner so if they know what is healthy for their child and what isn’t then they can give them what is right so can alter their child’s unhealthy eating habits. It aims to alter eating habits for the better and make children and the family in general more healthy. On the fifth and twelfth week children under-go a 20-minute consultation with a registration dietician where a fitness test is given and data on weight and body fat is collected.

8 This is important for the clubs because they have to try and meet the government’s targets but they also want to make as much profit as they can so they need to try and do as well as they can from the project. The government and clubs are also trying to encourage the parents to exercise with their children because as well as encouraging the children to exercise more and getting the parents fitter at the same time it can create a stronger bond between mother, father and children.

Clubs are also trying to encourage children and parents to eat at the centres because health meals are a main option that is provided meaning that it becomes less hassle for mother or farther to go home and provide a healthy meal. They can simply have a healthy meal there and know that their children have had good exercise and a healthy meal. Also if the parents look at the healthy meal and the ingredients that go into it then they can bare that in mind for when they are next making a meal so that they can make it as healthy as possible. This is providing people with a good knowledge of what they can do to improve their lifestyles.

Also the government would like to try to encourage teenagers to exercise more. There is more of a focus on girls ages 14-16 because it is a fact that this is the main age and gender that tend not to want to take part in sport because it is no longer compulsory at school so they tend to drop out and a lot don’t enjoy it. This gives them no motivation to get involved in any clubs outside of school or take part in new activities so they are not doing any exercise at all and obviously this is not very healthy. International health clubs are beginning to start to provide health clubs for children.

This has come about as the childhood obesity rate has started to rapidly increase and the government is getting hot on the health of the nation. Health and fitness club operators have started to give children access to physical activities. A lot of these children join different classes while their parents are taking part in other activities at the club. 9 Schemes that are getting children active are becoming widely available everywhere you go. There are a lot of countries that have already developed such schemes like Australia, New Zealand and America.

Such schemes are bringing children together and making them feel part of a club and educating them into living a healthier lifestyle. A lot of the programmes that are being offered do not just give the children a place to exercise but they are also providing them with education about nutrition and other factors which can affect them having a healthy lifestyle. Although the children of our nation are increasingly becoming more overweight and their lifestyles are becoming more unhealthy there are still 3 out of 10 boys and 4 out of 10 girls who are still doing enough activity to benefit their health.

Recent studies show that obesity is increasingly common among children, with 16. 6% of boys and 16. 7% of girls deemed overweight. 10 This is why something must be done to improve the health of the children of our nation because otherwise the numbers will continue to increase. The department of health states that young people need to experience a wide range of activities to get them into fitness habits. 11 Trends that have now become a normal daily routine for our younger generation need to be changed. “it has taken a generation to become so inactive, why should it take longer than a generation to reverse this?

“12 This market is clearly one that could become very big with people becoming more aware about health risks and the need for more physical activity in day to day lives and eating healthily. Children and teenagers are the future of the world and it needs to be made clear that they need to be healthy because otherwise things will continue the way they are and get worse. The NHS is beginning to come under a lot more strain because the amount of obese people is continuing to rise and people suffering from illnesses that have occurred from an unhealthy lifestyle.

More people than ever know that our children need to be healthy, but no one seems to be doing a lot about it, so these new plans to get children into gyms may sound extreme because a lot of people would think that they would be doing enough exercise by running around playing games and having fun but with the continuing introduction of new technology this is not the case because children are just playing on computer games and sitting in front of the TV and therefore not doing any physical activity. These new plans are there to help the people of the future and educate them to make the right lifestyles changes.

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Kylie Garcia

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