Primary Cause Of Obesity

28 May 2006
EXCLUSIVE Primaries fail in obesity war
By Brian Lironi
PRIMARY schools have just one PE teacher for every 3400 pupils.

And Glasgow - the city bidding to bring the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Scotland - has three gym teachers covering its 178 primaries.

In Dundee, there are no primary teachers whose main subject is PE.

The shocking figures emerged despite an Executive pledge to boost physical education in schools to combat childhood obesity.

Last night, two-time Commonwealth Games athletics gold medallist Liz McColgan demanded action.

Liz, chair of Scottish Athletics, said: "I would like to see a full-time PE teacher in every primary school. The earlier you get children into exercise, the easier it is to get them fit and keen.

“The government keeps telling us we have obese kids and we need to do something about this.”

A recent study showed more than a fifth of Scotland’s primary one pupils and more than a third of 12 year-old are overweight or clinically obese.

But just five per cent of kids get the Government-ordered two hours of PE a week. The Executive have pledged to put 400 extra PE teachers in schools by 2009.

An Executive spokeswoman said: "Last year over 100 physical education teachers graduated and we are also giving primary teachers the chance to specialise in physical education.

"We have been working with Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities to set up a course to help primary teachers develop these skills.

Teachers’ union the EIS said: “Promoting exercise and physical fitness from a young age is essential.”