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Kids should play near cliffs, report finds

Children should be allowed to play in dangerous places, MPs and peers will claim today


A study on childhood obesity led by Baroness Floella Benjamin found that youngsters are being held back by ‘health and safety’ concerns.

The report will suggest that kids play in “potentially dangerous” environments, including near water and cliffs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Report says risky play gives children a “feeling of thrill and excitement” and helps keep them healthy.

Parents are being urged to encourage their families to play outdoors, and not to allow their own fears to inhibit their activities.

It also calls on teachers tospend more time “interacting playfully with children” and suggests that school inspectors evaluate the quality of playtime.

The lead author of the report, former MP Helen Clark, said: “Research has shown that integrating time for play into the school day is essential to develop creativity, promote emotional intelligence and improve academic achievement.”

MPs will also call for promoting play as part of a ‘whole-child strategy’ to be made a “key priority for policy-makers at all levels”.

Baroness Benjamin said: “Play benefits children of all ages in many different settings and should be at the heart of government initiatives to promote their health and wellbeing.”

The report comes as the Health Secretary faces growing criticism over his handling of Britain’s obesity problem.

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of suppressing evidence about the benefits of a “sugar tax” and obstructing an inquiry by the health select committee into childhood obesity.

Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said: “The committee is deeply disappointed that we have not seen publication of the detailed evidence review. We consider that that is obstructing this inquiry.”

Government figures released earlier this year show that almost 10% of children under five are obese, while that figure doubles for children aged 10-11. 

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