It’s important that children engage in healthy, physically active outdoor play every day – and it’s just as important that children experience it as simply having a good time.
A quarter of Australian children and teenagers are overweight or obese, indicating the need to foster a new mindset that encourages children to be physically active. Habits are established early in life, and evidence strongly suggests that physically active children are more likely to mature into physically active adults. All in all promoting healthier communities.
The Australian Government recommends, as a guide to the minimum levels of physical activity required for good health that:
- ‘Children and young people should participate in at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day’.
- ‘Children and young people should not spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (such as computer games, internet, TV), particularly during daylight hours’.
An “investigation of the effects of daily physical activity on the health of primary school students” in the late 1970’s, introduced an hour of physical activity each day into the daily school schedule. It concluded beneficial effects on health with no evidence of any loss of academic performance in spite of the loss of an hour of formal teaching time each day.
Encouraging our children outdoors to play is not a new concept, it’s a fact that we need to continue to promote – by providing safe, innovative equipment for use in schools and in community parks – that exercise both mind and body and boost the physical activity and wellbeing of our children..