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More than a third of students (37%) worldwide don’t exercise at school, according to new research by Cambridge International. What’s more, girls are less likely than boys to play sport at school, with two in five female students (41%) saying they don’t take part in school sports, versus 28% of male students.
The first ever Global Education Census by leading international education organisation Cambridge International aimed to find out what life is like in schools around the world today for students aged 12-19 and their teachers.
One of the most shocking findings of the report is that one in three school pupils around the world does no exercise at school. This is despite growing concern by leading global health experts that childhood obesity and unhealthy lifestyles are on the rise.
Obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with childhood obesity becoming ‘one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century’. It says young people should do at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Yet, the Global Education Census found more than half (53%) of young people do less than two hours of exercise a week at school.
Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Executive at Cambridge International, said: 'We recognise the pressure on schools to focus on academic subjects, but taking part in healthy and collaborative activities like sport has wide-reaching benefits for students, including classroom benefits, like improving concentration so students can learn more.'
'Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to sport. Other subjects, such as drama or dance, can also encourage students to get active and learn away from their desks. School leaders are experts in helping all of their students get ready for the world, which is why we designed flexibility into our Cambridge Pathway, so schools can meet a wide range of students’ needs.'
The 2018 Census looked at other aspects of modern education including students’ favourite subjects, extracurricular activities offered by schools, homework and how schools celebrate success. Key findings include:
Read the Global Education Census 2018 survey report.