FEWER children in Bradford hit the recommended amount of exercise last year than before the coronavirus pandemic, new statistics show.

According to Chief Medical Officers' guidelines, those aged between five and 18 should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity a day across the week.

Figures from Sport England's annual Active Lives survey found 38 per cent of children in Bradford were classed as 'active' – meeting the recommended amount of activity – in the 2022-23 academic year.

It was down from 40 per cent the previous academic year, and below pre-pandemic levels in 2017-18 when 50 per cent of children were active.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England, said more work must be done to get more children and young people active.

He added: "Too many children and young people are missing out on the benefits of living an active life – to their physical health but also mental wellbeing and positive social connection with friends and their community."

Councillor Sue Duffy, Bradford Council's executive member for children and families and Living Well said: "The health and wellbeing of our communities, including our children, is one of Bradford Council's key priorities. 

"We support a significant number of initiatives through our work with Living Well, and under the new Physical Activity Strategy we have been developing with system partners, we are not only aiming to address children being more physically active but also focussing our efforts on reducing the amount of time children are sedentary.  
"In the initial phase of the Living Well Schools programme we have supported 30 primary schools in some of the most socially disadvantaged areas of Bradford - 85 per cent of these schools have reported they have increased the amount of physical activity on offer in their school as well as embedding being more active into break times and academic lessons. 

"In addition to this, we now have 30 Madrassas in Bradford working on implementing a co-designed toolkit to embed more physical activity into their teaching and activities."  
Rose Dunlop, deputy director of public health, added: "Physical activity plays a vital role in improving health and wellbeing and, while the sample used in this data is very small, we are aware that we have further to go to improve the physical activity levels of our children and young people."