Parents are being called on to get active to set an example and help turn around the poor health outcomes of the nation’s children by leading researcher, Dr Natasha Schranz, of the University of SA.
Less than one in five Australian children is meeting the national recommendation of 60 minutes of huff and puff activity every day, despite an increase in the numbers playing sport.
Dr Schranz is the co-chair of Active Healthy Kids Australia which produces a biennial Report Card on children’s physical activity levels and has twice assigned a D- rating. Their next report is due later this year.
She said children needed daily activity to reduce the risk of health conditions such as obesity and Type II diabetes.
Dr Schranz is among a national group of experts, led by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration, behind a new report, Active Travel: Pathways to a Healthy Future, which recommends “active travel” for school children as an urgent priority.
The report calls for government action to help communities, schools and parents support their children in active travel such as walking or riding a bike or scooter to school.
Harold Scruby, chairman and CEO of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said: “Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for so many chronic diseases that can affect our kids at different stages of their life, including mental illness, cardiovascular disease and cancer. You have to invest in regular physical activity in order to get a dividend. It’s never free.”
“We really need teachers, parents, carers and the community at large to get behind this event and its objectives. The best exercise for all of us is regular walking, because you can build it into your daily routine.”