We are training people to sit indoors at desks and we will reap the consequences in poor health both physical and psychological.
Academics led by Dr Gavin Sandercock, a children's fitness expert at Essex University, studied how strong a group of 315 Essex 10-year-olds in 2008 were compared with 309 children the same age in 1998. They found that:READ MORE
■ The number of sit-ups 10-year-olds can do declined by 27.1% between 1998 and 2008
■ Arm strength fell by 26% and grip strength by 7%
■ While one in 20 children in 1998 could not hold their own weight when hanging from wall bars, one in 10 could not do so in 2008.
"This is probably due to changes in activity patterns among English 10-year-olds, such as taking part in fewer activities like rope-climbing in PE and tree-climbing for fun," Sandercock said. "Typically, these activities boosted children's strength, making them able to lift and hold their own bodyweight."
The fact that 10% could not do the wall bars test and another 10% refused to try was "really shocking", he added. "That probably shows that climbing and holding their own weight was something they hadn't done before."