Urgent action is needed to stop children leading a “battery hen existence” during the summer holidays that is damaging their mental health, contributing to violence and ensuring they return to school in worse health than when they left, the children’s commissioner for England has warned. In an interview with the Observer, Anne Longfield said radical measures were needed to restore the importance of play, such as overhauling play areas and parks, and encouraging GPs to recommend “play on prescription”. She pointed to evidence showing that cardiovascular health and obesity levels deteriorate over the summer break as children stay indoors on computers and phones. Longfield called for the funds raised by the government’s “sugar tax” to be used to ensure attractive play schemes were located in the right areas and gave children and parents a safe, exciting and affordable facility. “We all remember how important the long school holidays were,” said Longfield. “But there is a sense that children are retreating into their homes or being limited to their homes, and we are seeing the consequences in terms of health, mental health and marginalisation from school and violence. “Parents told me in the playground that if they hadn’t been there, the children… Read full this story
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