UCL News


UCL in the News: Children who play unsupervised turn out fitter and more sociable, study says

19 December 2007

Laura Clark, 'Daily Mail' Letting youngsters explore their surroundings without an adult present is "one of the best things a parent can do for their child's physical health and personal development", researchers claim.

The study, by UCL, said parents need to balance fears over "stranger danger" with soaring levels of child obesity.

For the study, 330 pupils aged eight to 11 at two primary schools in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, agreed to have their movements logged for four days, including a weekend.

They wore satellite tracking systems on their wrists and motion sensors on belts. …

Children allowed out without adults were found to be more active and burnt more calories than their constantly supervised peers. …

Professor Roger Mackett [UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering], who led the study, said: "Allowing children to leave the house without an accompanying adult has significant benefits.

"The health benefits are clear, but without action the less tangible benefits of increased independence and self-reliance will be lost.

"That may be a very great loss with many implications."