Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer says schools are a key vehicle to solving the nation’s inactivity crisis, launching the 31st Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) International Conference at the AIS in Canberra as she welcomed 250 delegates from around the world including, physical education teachers, sport educators, coaches and associated health practitioners.
A report card released by the Active Healthy Kids Australia late last year scored Australia a D-minus for children’s physical activity levels, ranking our nation 32 of 49 countries. Research shows 81% of Australian children are not meeting our physical activity guidelines. “This is not good enough because we know sport and physical activity can play a crucial role in the holistic development of children, putting them on the path to vibrant and productive lives,” Palmer said. “It can impact positively on their physical and mental health, social development, and their ability to learn.”
There is also a long-term gain because we know children who grow up active and playing sport are 10% more likely to remain active as adults.
“We want to make daily physical activity a part of every child’s life and we believe a key vehicle to solving our inactivity crisis is through schools. We want to support schools and teachers to deliver high quality physical education because we believe that is a critical vehicle for children to develop the confidence, competence and the motivation required to move.
“Sport Australia is committed to making Australia the world’s most active nation and that will require generational change. Sport Australia wants to work collaboratively with the education sector and with organisations such as ACHPER, so together we can get Australian children moving more often.”
The Australian Government’s $200 million Sporting Schools program, managed by Sport Australia, is one example of how Australian children get free access to physical activity. In just over three years, the program has reached 84% of Australian schools.
“Despite the program’s enormous reach, evidence tells us we need more. Increasingly, Australian children are unable to perform basic fundamental movement skills such as running, throwing, kicking, catching or jumping.
“Sport Australia is developing a national commitment to increase physical literacy by embedding it within education environments. Our focus is on ensuring all young Australians have access to the volume of time and the quality of experience needed to ensure they develop into more physically literate Australians.”