David Lloyd Leisure Sees Rise in Kids Membership

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Growth comes amid concerns over childhood obesity.

Health, sport and leisure operator David Lloyd Leisure has seen an increase in the number of parents wanting their youngsters to keep fit, as concerns rise about levels of childhood obesity in the UK.

In the wake of government guidelines issued this week to tackle worries that both children and adults are spending too much time sitting down, the group reported a marked growth in enquiries and in the number of youngsters taking part in sports and activities.

NHS figures show that nearly a quarter of four and five-year-olds are now overweight or obese and forecasts are for the trend to rise. The government now wants under-fives to be active for at least three hours a day.

David Lloyd Leisure, whose DL Kids programme encourages youngsters to be active while having fun, has seen three per cent net growth in junior members since the beginning of 2011. Participations in kids’ activities currently stand at 266,000 per month, or an average of 3.2m a year.

The company’s head of family, Sarah Hobbs, said educating children about health and fitness from a very early age is fundamental in forming lifelong habits.

“At David Lloyd Leisure, we understand the need to engage under fives in regular exercise that is fun and will give them a great start into the world of physical activity. We provide a range of options for them to help support their development of their major and fine motor skills, building on their experiences through play and imagination games.

“In the last two years, DL Kids has seen a significant growth in participations; to date we have over 3.2 million participations in DL Kids every year. Our junior membership continues to grow with thousands of small children learning to get active, swim, play tennis, supporting parents in the future exercise habits of their children.”

”We believe that if children have a strong habit to be active, then they will continue as they get older and supporting parents and families to this end is what we do.

“Many parents find it difficult to find the time to co-ordinate all of their children’s sporting and leisure activities, so our programmes are designed to do that effectively for them, and all under one roof.”

A recent survey carried out by David Lloyd Leisure found that one in five children aged 6-11 years do not receive any support from their parents when it comes to getting involved in sport outside of school, with a further 50 per cent of boys and 15 per cent of girls saying they would play more sport if their parents were prepared to drive them to sports clubs.

The poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 children aged 6-11 and 2,000 parents across the UK, found that despite these figures, a third of parents believe their children should be playing more sport.

“Parents play a vital role in determining how physically active their children are. The results reveal that while parents feel their children should be more active, behaviour is not supporting this belief,” says Sarah Hobbs.

When asked specifically how parents would like to see their children spend their leisure time, playing sport came out on top with 39 per cent, followed by doing homework (16 per cent), playing a musical instrument (15 per cent), arts & crafts (8 per cent) and watching television (6 per cent).

Despite this, half of parents confess to watching more than four hours of television per week as a family compared to just 25 per cent who play more than four hours of sport a week with their children.

Note to editors:
For further information about this press release contact Anna-Marie Muldowney on 01707 289833 or email press(at)davidlloyd(dot)co.uk

About David Lloyd Leisure Group
The David Lloyd Leisure Group operates 79 clubs in the UK and a further 10 clubs across Europe.

David Lloyd Leisure has over 450,000 members and employs 6,000 people. This includes an expert health and fitness team of over 750 and more than 450 tennis professionals.

Across all clubs, David Lloyd Leisure has over 150 swimming pools (of which half are indoor) and offers over 10,000 exercise classes per week. Every week 20,000 children learn to swim at David Lloyd Leisure and 14,000 learn to play tennis.

Its racquets facilities are unparalleled with 700 tennis courts as well as 180 badminton courts and 140 squash courts. Additional facilities include health and beauty spas, club lounges with free internet access, crèches, nurseries and specialist sports shops.

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Anna-Marie Muldowney
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