REPORT CARD: Australian Children Rank Among The Worst In The World For Physical Activity Levels

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School children rank among the worst in the world for overall physical activity levels, getting a D- and just avoiding a fail grade in a new national report card released today.

The inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth has found 80% of children aged 5 to 17 years old are not meeting physical activity guidelines of at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.

Using an international ranking tool developed in Canada, Australia’s Report Card is measured against 14 other countries around the world.

Too many Australian parents believe playing sport is enough to keep their kids healthy, says report author Natasha Schranz from the University of South Australia.

“Australia is a sporting nation, and vast numbers of children are involved in some type of organised sport but this report clearly shows we need to be looking at further ways to keep kids active when they are not on the sports field,” Dr Schranz says.

“Things like walking to school, playing outside and turning off televisions and computers also contribute to overall health and physical activity levels – and these things are being forgotten.”

Among the 12 grades assigned in the Report Card, key grades include:

  • D- for Overall Physical Activity Levels
  • B- for Organised Sport and Physical Activity Participation
  • D for Active Transportation (such as riding or walking to school)
  • D- for Sedentary Behaviours (screen time)

The Heart Foundation’s National Lead on Active Living, Associate Professor Trevor Shilton, says the evidence can’t be ignored.

“We’re raising a generation of couch potatoes and if we don’t start to reverse this trend this will drive up health problems in the future – obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease,” he says.

This is how Australia compares to other countries:

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