Research shows 81% of Australian children are not meeting physical activity guidelines, compounding an issue that is already top of mind for schools and parents – childhood obesity.
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.
Another survey found that 57.6% of parents are concerned children may struggle to maintain a healthy weight in life and be at risk of serious disease (51.2%) as a result of poor food choices.
In a bid to combat this, the NSW Government recently launched the 2019 Premier’s Sporting Challenge, which presents students and staff a 10-week physical challenge that is open to all NSW public schools.
The Challenge, launched earlier this month, is open to all NSW public schools with more than 400,000 students from 1,500 schools participating in 2018.
Students from six schools across Sydney were joined at the launch by Premier’s Sporting Challenge Ambassadors as they took part in a series of physical activities run by state sporting associations.
NSW Swifts netball players Abbey McCulloch and Paige Hadley, along with rising hockey star Ash Thomas and world champion Paralympic rower Erik Horrie, inspired the students to get physically active and involved in this year’s Challenge.
Public school staff are also encouraged to participate with more than 10,000 school and corporate staff signing up last year.
Ross Morrison, Leader, School Sport Unit, said the Challenge – now in its 12th year – aimed to engage young people in sport and physical activity.
“The Premier’s Sporting Challenge encourages students to lead healthy and active lifestyles,” Morrison said.
One element of the program is the 10-week Challenge where students and staff record and track their physical activity over a school term as they aim to become more active, more often.
Students are recognised for their efforts with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond awards based on their average daily activity time across the 10 weeks. This can include physical activity during class time, lunchtime, school sport programs or after school and on weekends.
Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend children and young people should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Achieving 60 minutes of daily activity equates to a Gold award in the Sporting Challenge.