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Strength and conditioning in schools: a strategy to optimise health, fitness and physical activity in youths
  1. Kevin Till1,2,
  2. Andrew Bruce2,3,
  3. Thomas Green2,4,
  4. Stephanie J. Morris2,5,
  5. Sean Boret2,6,
  6. Chris John Bishop7
  1. 1 Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 United Kingdom Strength & Conditioning Association Schools Special Interest Group, Lytham, UK
  3. 3 Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, UK
  4. 4 St Peter's RC High School, Gloucester, UK
  5. 5 Youth Physical Development Centre, Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK
  6. 6 Eton College, Windsor, UK
  7. 7 London Sports Institute, Middlesex University London Sport Institute, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Kevin Till, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS6 3QS, UK; K.Till{at}

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There is a global concern surrounding the current lifestyle behaviours and future health and well-being of youth.1 Levels of physical activity, aerobic and muscular fitness in youth are in decline2 with such trends further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.3 Increases in obesity prevalence suggest that many youth do not develop the requisite skills to sustain a physically active lifestyle. Concurrently, the WHO 2020 youth physical activity guidelines recommend 60 min per day of moderate-to-vigorous activity and 3 days of muscle and bone strengthening activities per week for health outcomes such as physical fitness, cognitive development and mental health.4 Youth development consensus statements5 also recommend the implementation of strength and conditioning (S&C), defined as the application of scientific exercise prescription principles to improve physical outcomes aligned to each individual’s needs. While the lack of governmental strategies for addressing these concerns within schools have been discussed,6 schools arguably provide the most suitable contexts to support multidimensional health outcomes through consistent education and exposure to appropriate types and levels of physical activity. Therefore, the integration of S&C within schools, through physical education (PE), extracurricular activities, sport, play and education may help to …

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  • Contributors This editorial has undergone numerous drafts, all of which have been agreed upon by the UKSCA Schools special interest group.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.