Fitness & Nutrition Awards 2019

14 GHP / Fitness & Nutrition Awards 2019 , Oct19012 Leading Providers of Children’s Fitness Analysis & Testing - UK In this digital age, data is being utilised in a plethora of new, interesting and effective ways. Fitmedia, in this crowdedmarket, have settled themselves into a rather clever niche – health and fitness assessments for children. Looking to change the way that people look at PE, we profiled Fitmedia to discover more. Fitmedia is a specialist assessment company which provides a range of health and fitness assessment systems for children. They provide tools to evaluate children’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. They’re specifically designed for use by schools, clubs, and councils, with systems for children of all ages and abilities. Their recipe is a simple combination of simple tests backed up with a wealth of quantitative data analysis. Sheila Forster, MD at Fitmedia says ‘We will continue to develop affordable solutions to support schools and sporting organisations to help fight the epidemic of unfit and obese children and young people in the UK’. At the practical end, children take part in fun and easy tests, within PE lessons. The testing is deliberately low-tech, low- cost and kid-proof, requiring no special space or equipment. The tests can be carried out by the staff themselves, or Fitmedia themselves can come in to run the tests, freeing up teacher time. This freedom lets the client choose the option that works for them. Once they’ve been done, the analysis begins. Fitmedia’s analysis team crunch the results with normative reference data, a unique resource which has been developed to show how the children have performed, not just against those around them, but against national benchmarks. This is an ability that only Fitmedia has currently, with their matchless record of data norms. Led by Director of Strategy and Operations Director Alex Scott- Bayfield, Fitmedia’s services are provided by skilled professionals. They only recruit from sports science graduates or those with degrees in physical activity and sport. This gives clients the assurance that those doing the testing are fully trained and practised in the field. It also provides a wealth of experience, both with the children on the ground, and in the analysis and examination of results. These specialised systems have allowed Fitmedia to corner the market in this field, with an increasing recognition of the benefits their assessments can bring. However, they recognise that the use of this sort of analysis is relatively new in the UK. Some schools and sporting organisations still resist the use of proper statistics, relying on their prior knowledge of the children or their performance in competitive games. This is a flawed plan in the eyes of Fitmedia. In their experience, using traditional approaches to PE has shown limitations in increasing physical activity, whilst at the same time has often resulted in alienating and demotivating children who are less interested in sport and competition. By contrast, assessing fundamental movement skills and fitness areas outside competitive games allows all children to find their niche – particularly those who are normally put off from team games. Breaking down their abilities into individual skills – whether its running, jumping, strength or endurance – means that every kid can discover – often to their surprise! – things they can succeed at – irrespective of the PE environment. Fitmedia’s approach helps every aspect of school PE – it breaks down physical activity into key areas and skills; helps children’s understanding of their own abilities; and allows PE staff to see in detail their children’s skills and shortcomings. As a result, it is growing traction in the world of Children’s Health and Fitness. Fitmedia believes assessment and analysis of this kind can play a key role in getting – and keeping – kids active. Looking forward, Fitmedia is determined to remain at the forefront of Children’s Fitness Analysis & Testing across the UK. These plans currently revolve around gaining the partnership of another organisation. Using their formidable database, a series of targeted interventions could be taken towards regions where children are unfit and obese. This is already underway, with schools trusts and national organisations also wanting to use this data. A natural consequence would be expansion out of their London-based offices, creating regional satellite offices around the country. The systems designed by Fitmedia are inspiring, offering an exciting way forward for the way we look at fitness for children. It’s the way in which this information can be applied to different situations, however, that really sets them apart from other companies. Their plans for growth in the sector give the impression that there’s still a long way for them to go, especially when it comes to ensuring that everyone knows the importance of what they’ve got on their hands. Contact: Sheila Forster Email: [email protected]