11 November 2016
The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) today welcomed the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) call for a ‘whole of society’ response to tackling obesity and said it believed increasing access to sport and physical activity across the country was key to tackling the problem.
ASC Chair John Wylie said: “Obesity is one of the core problems of our communities and we believe an increase in sport-in-education will reduce childhood obesity and create adolescents and adults who will lead healthier more active lives.
“No one argues the need to teach every child to read and write, we should add the need for every child to learn how to run, throw, kick, catch and jump.
“Our strategy of increasing school-based measures to encourage kids to be more active can significantly reduce childhood obesity and other chronic health conditions. Less obesity means less drain on the Health budget and will deliver other social benefits.
“The ASC is delivering the Federal Government’s $100million Sporting Schools program, launched in July 2015 to give Australian primary school children access to more sporting opportunities. Sporting Schools has had great impact in less than 16 months and the response from the education sector has been extremely positive, but there is no doubt that there is a lot more that can be done.
“This is a complex issue and we are doing everything we can to get the education and health sectors to establish a national approach for sport in education.
“One quarter of young people are overweight or obese and that will grow to one in three in a decade unless we can initiate and commit to change” John Wylie said.
Sporting Schools has funded more than 5100 schools and delivered opportunities for fun, physical activity to more than 1.3million children across 32 different sports. The Federal Government has committed an additional $60million which will extend the program to the end of 2018 and enable expansion into secondary schools.
In conjunction with Sporting Schools, the ASC is also undertaking a major research project on how the physical competency – or physical literacy – of Australian children can have a positive impact on both activity and obesity levels.
Research shows that children’s levels of physical competence and physical activity are declining, and Australian children are failing to develop the adequate motor skills, confidence and motivation to move. Taking a whole-of-child development approach to creating physically capable and motivated young Australians will create individuals who value being active and, in turn, contribute to addressing the obesity health crisis.
Statistics show 81 per cent of Australian children are not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines of one hour a day.