‘Get Our Kids Active’ by Dr Natasha Schranz & Charlotte Vincent published in Great Health Guide (Oct 2016). Australian kids scored an alarming D- in the area of overall physical activity. What can we do to help increase physical activity levels of all Australian children and young people? The AHKA (Active Healthy Kids Australia) group is a collaboration of physical activity researchers in Australia that are involved in researching this issue. To read the report of their studies, read the rest of this article below.
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PARENTING: Get Our Kids Active
written by Dr Natasha Schranz & Charlotte Vincent
Australian kids scored an alarming D- in the area of overall physical activity, when the 2014 inaugural Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People was released by Active Healthy Kids Australia. Only one in five children met the national physical activity guidelines and over two thirds engaged in recreational screen use for more than 2 hours a day. With the launch of the latest Report Card approaching, we ask the question, what can we do to improve this grade?
Leading the Report Card initiative is Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA), a collaboration of physical activity researchers across Australia who have a vested interest in increasing the physical activity levels of all Australian children and young people. This increase in physical activity participation is the ultimate purpose of AHKA. The vehicle to drive this change is the AHKA Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People. The Report Card synthesises the best available evidence in order to assign grades to physical activity indicators and provides a national snap shot of children’s physical activity in Australia.
In 2014, AHKA produced the first Australian Physical Activity Report Card and then following on in 2015 released the AHKA Progress Report Card on Active Transport which focused on just the one physical activity indicator. Both Reports can be accessed from the AHKA website.
The key functions of the AHKA Report Card are:
a. to inform policy changes and decision-making across various sectors with the aim of increasing physical activity participation
b. to highlight where more research is needed to better understand the physical activity of Australian children and young people
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c. to encourage all Australians to make changes in their lives to promote, facilitate and model positive lifestyle behaviours of increased physical activity participation
d. to reduce sedentary behaviours among the children and young people of today and tomorrow.
With the knowledge that inactive kids are likely to become inactive adults, it is vital that we all play our part to get our children moving more every day. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of no one person, influence or sector. We need a nationally coordinated response that includes:
a. government (at the local, state and federal level) working towards implementing policies, programs and initiatives that encourage and support physical activity participation
b. communities creating spaces, environments and cultures that invite movement; schools and teachers who nurture the development of active children
c. families who provide numerous opportunities to be active and act as positive role models who value physical activity in their everyday lives.
In November 2016, AHKA will release the next full Report Card which will cover all 12 physical activity indicators. These focus on physical activity behaviours, the settings and sources of influence, strategies and investments that impact these behaviours and traits linked with physical activity participation.
The AHKA Report Card will be released alongside reports from more than 35 other countries as a part of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. This global launch will provide a benchmark of where Australia sits compared to the rest of the world in regards to the activity levels of Australian children and young people.
Author of this article:
Dr Natasha Schranz, Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Co-Chair and Research Fellow at the University of South Australia is passionate about the work she does for AHKA. With Aussie kids doing less physical activity than they ever have before, the results from the AHKA Physical Activity Report Cards can and should start a national conversation about how to improve the grade and get more kids to move more and sit less.
Charlotte Vincent assists with the business administration for Active Healthy Kids Australia. Charlotte shares the passion of AHKA in the ultimate quest to find effective and innovative ways to improve physical activity levels of Australian Kids.
by Jamie Oliver
Hardcover. Published 2016.