API to contribute to parliamentary report

The Association of Play Industries (API) is taking part in a new report into mental health through movement organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.

‘Positive Mental Health Through Movement’, the 14th report issued by the parliamentary working group of which the API is a member, will be published later this year and feature contributions from leading experts in the field.

“There is mounting evidence of the connection between movement and mental health,” said API Chair Mark Hardy. “Today’s children are the more inactive than ever before, spending the bulk of their leisure time indoors, sedentary and on screens. At the same time, more and more children are experiencing mental health issues.

“We are delighted to be a contributor to this report and to this most important of debates. There is growing recognition that movement plays a vital role in children’s positive mental health and that activity and mental health are inextricably linked.

“The report will collate current thinking and evidence on the topic and, most importantly, it will provide practical recommendations for policy makers, families and practitioners on how to utilise the connection between movement and mental health.”

Elements of API’s recent research – Nowhere To Play and a Movementfor Movement – will be submitted to the report for inclusion, as well as new API research recently commissioned into children’s behaviours around outdoor play and how they use their free time.

“All our evidence points to the fact that today’s children are increasingly experiencing a strong inducement from screens to stay indoors and be inactive,” said Mark. “At the same time, cuts in public funding mean that there is an alarming and ongoing decline in public playgrounds. More and more children are finding that they have nowhere to play outdoors and that those in disadvantaged areas are disproportionately affected.

“Our hope is that this report will act as a catalyst for policy makers to make the changes needed to foster movement in young people, enabling children to live happy, active and fulfilled lives and remain healthy well into adulthood.”

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