Lobby group pushes for play to be included in upcoming national obesity strategy

The Association of Play Industries is calling for play to be included in the national obesity strategy, due to be unveiled by the Government later this year.

Playground. Image: MorgueFile
Playground. Image: MorgueFile

The association said new outdoor sport and PE facilities for primary schools are boosting the UK play market but budget cuts for local authorities - traditionally the UK's biggest play-buying market - are having a major impact on public play provision for local communities.

The latest figures from API member companies show order values worth £48.2 million for the second quarter of 2015 – up 9.6 per cent on the same quarter last year. The increase was driven by orders from the education sector, which has been buoyed by Sport England's National Lottery-funded Primary Spaces initiative.

API chair Michael Hoenigmann said: "Despite evidence of the benefits of active play, both to child development and to wider societal well-being, play lacks a Cabinet champion. This means we are yet to see play given the credibility it deserves as a preventative measure against obesity.

"We believe the cost of adopting a national play strategy that provides opportunities for children in every local community to be physically active is a small price to pay compared to the long-term growing cost to the NHS of doing nothing."

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