A new report from VicHealth has found that a staggering nine out of 10 (92 per cent) Australians aged 12 to 17 do not meet the Australian Physical Activity guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
With teenagers almost five times more likely to be on their smartphone or tablet than being active, the health promotion body has announced up to $6million in new funding over three years to get teens moving as part of its Growing Participation in Sport program.
With the program seen as an intervention before unhealthy behaviours are established, Exercise and Sports Science Australia believes all Australians, including children, should have access to sporting opportunities and programs to help keep them active.
‘‘Encouraging children to be more active is always a great idea, for both their physical and mental health, and ESSA is supportive of this state and national initiative,’’ ESSA chief executive officer Anita Hobson-Powell said.
‘‘By creating more opportunities for accessible sporting programs for Australian children, the time spent being active has the chance to reduce screen time.’’
The report highlights various reasons why teenagers disengage from sport and keeping active.
A recent Australian Sports Commission project on youth sport participation found that from about the age of 14, sport can become more stressful, which can cause young people to retreat from sport altogether.
While competitive sport is enjoyed by some, it’s important to continue to encourage physical activity simply for the purposes of being fun and social, and benefiting your physical and mental health.
Of course, not all children and teenagers are the same socially, financially, in health and in accessibility, and need to exercise right for their own health.
Exercise Right for Kids is an educational platform that provides fact sheets and resources on physical activity specifically for children.
To find out more about how children can exercise right and keep active, visit the Exercise Right website.