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London - Tens of thousands of children are being held back at school because their sedentary lifestyles have left them lacking basic physical skills.
A study of four and five-year-olds shows nearly a third struggle with tasks such as balancing on one leg and crawling.
Researchers say children increasingly spend their early years sitting in front of screens and being ferried around in prams and car seats, with fewer opportunities to roll, climb, crawl and enjoy rough-and-tumble play. The study found those who struggle with basic physical exercises are significantly more likely to fall behind academically.
Sixty children in reception classes at a school in the West Midlands were given 14 short tests, including asking them to balance on one leg for three seconds and crawl a short distance.
The study found 30 percent of pupils showed signs of physical immaturity and a further 42 percent some signs of delays in development.
Some children even appeared not to have lost primitive baby reflexes, such as their arms and heads extending when their head moves to the side.
The study, carried out by former primary headmaster Pete Griffin in conjunction with the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester, found that of pupils in the bottom half of the group for physical maturity, 77 percent were in the lowest two groups for academic ability.
Mr Griffin said: “The main issue is that children don’t have the same kind of physical challenge and upbringing they might have had 40 or 50 years ago.” - Daily Mail