Researchers call for national plan to improve ‘D-grade’ children’s physical activity
The Sector > Research > Researchers call for national plan to improve ‘D-grade’ children’s physical activity

Researchers call for national plan to improve ‘D-grade’ children’s physical activity

by Freya Lucas

December 13, 2022

Researchers are calling for more to be done to encourage children to engage in physical activity following “dismal results” in the 2022 Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Report Card


The report card is part of a global initiative which looks at the levels of physical activity amongst 50 countries across the world, measuring the physical activity of children every two years. 


In a new review, conducted by a group of universities including the University of South Australia (Uni SA), researchers advised that the ongoing poor performance of children’s physical fitness is a clear sign that more must be done.


Of particular concern were the D- grades for children’s overall physical activity and screen time, which showed that 80 per cent of Australian children (aged 0-18 years) were not meeting national guidelines for physical activity. Additionally, 80 per cent of children were exceeding the two-hour guidelines for daily screen time.


“When we think of Australian kids, we often picture active, healthy children. Yet the reality is far from this ideal. Instead, most Aussie kids are spending their time glued to screens and getting nowhere near enough physical activity,” said Uni SA’s Dr Verity Booth.


“The lack of physical activity is not something new either. Since the inception of the AHKA Report Card in 2014, the data have consistently shown Australian children and youth to be inactive,” she added.


“Physical activity is vital for children’s health, development and learning. But despite national guidelines on the amount of physical activity children need, four out of five children are not getting enough movement and exercise into their day.”


In response fellow researcher Professor Tim Olds said a new national physical activity plan should be developed which should involve multiple partners from different sectors.


“Researchers agree that an important part of a national physical activity plan should be a national monitoring system, allowing governments to assess the success of various initiatives,” Professor Olds said.


“A national plan should also involve all sectors of government: transportation to encourage walking and cycling to school, urban planning to provide adequate green spaces and recreation facilities, education to encourage specialist PE teachers. There is also a role for the private sector.”


The AHKA Report Card and international comparisons are available here

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