Children in Rotherham cannot do the activities of a lively childhood - swim, ride a bike, or run 400 metres, states a study commissioned by Tata Steel.
A generation of children is growing up knowing absolutely no fun of physical activity. All they have learnt to enjoy is a simulated game through the virtual world of computer and television. 'This is another sad reflection on children today,' said Tam Fry of the Child Growth Foundation.
The study involved a survey of 1,500 children between the ages of 6 and 15. Most spent their free time watching TV, surfing the Internet, chatting on social networks and playing video games. 15 per cent could not swim; one in 10 did not know how to ride a bike; about a quarter of the children had not run 400 metres. A third did not own a bike, but interestingly, two-thirds owned a mobile phone and three out of four had a games console.
Parents Outloud has blamed schools for not devoting more time to physical exercise.
Tata Steel, which is planning to hold a series of mini triathlons this summer, is targeting at giving 50,000 children an opportunity to swim, ride a bike and run a 400 metres event by 2012. The British Triathlon Federation and Tata Steel are organizing a triathlon at Rotherham on May 26.
Tata's HR manager in South Yorkshire, Mike Hood states, "Our aim is to get children excited about sport..."