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Child fitness ‘crisis’, a step towards a cure for the most common sleeping sickness and Darcey Bussell’s tips for confidence

The I’s front page story today is a study which found that half of all seven-year-olds in the UK are not getting enough exercise, and remain inactive for between six and seven hours every day. So much for the Olympic effect.

Published in the BMJ Open, researchers found a ‘striking’ gender gap, with girls far less active than boys. Only four in 10 girls achieved minimum recommended activity levels of an hour or more a day, compared with 63% of boys.

John Steele, the chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said the findings were ‘concerning’.

‘If young people enjoy taking part in physical activity early on they will go on to lead active, healthy lifestyles, but if they have a bad experience, particularly at school, they could be put off for life’ he said.

The BBC reports that scientists have taken a tentative step towards creating a cure for the most common form of sleeping sickness.

The gambiense strain of the trypanosome parasite is the leading cause of sleeping sickness, causing 97% of sleeping sickness in western and central Africa.

Belgian researchers have developed a mutant form of the gambiense strain of the trypanosome parasite which early tests show can kill a wide range of trypanosomes, including gambinese.

Lead author Prof Etienne Pays called the research ‘promising’.

The Telegraph brings us the news that women are happiest with their naked bodies at the age of 34.

Thirty-somethings have typically settled into a long-term relationship, which boosts their self-confidence and they have often learned which diet and exercise regimes produces the best results, experts said.

Former prima ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell said for her, confidence was all about ‘being healthy, strong and happy in my own skin’. Aww.