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With the rise in technology such as smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles the harder it becomes to get our kids interested in sports and exercise. With SnapChat, Tik Tok, Candy Crush, MineCraft, Fortnite, Facebook, Instagram and what ever else is gonna be next it some times feels like we don’t stand a chance in getting kids active. I only recently learnt that Primary Schools no longer have a PE teacher or a PE class, it is now up to each class room teacher to get kids moving. I loved PE with Mr Soyer and still remember the circuits around the Daylesford Primary School Basketball court. I do not expect every teacher to be able to take their class through 30 minutes of exercise, that’s why the schools employed subject matter experts as the PE teacher. This is just another reason we need to get exercising and out side of school hours.

Screen Time

Almost 94% of teenage have their own smart phone or mobile device. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up before the smartphone was around. I do not think it has improved the lives of children one little bit and it it is sad that they will never know a world with out devices. Our kids do not know any different and it is our fault. My 10 month old baby picks up a smart phone and starts swiping right with her finger like she’s on Tinder and I only have my self to blame.

  • Average screen time for ages 2-18 years old is 4.6 hours per day
  • One in 5 Teenagers spend up to 12 hours of screen time per day.

Sport

Kids participation in organised sport outside of school hours is low. I recall the under 12 bench at football being filled with kids waiting for their turn on the field. Last year some clubs struggled to get numbers to fill a side. The basketball stadium would be packed full of kids with matches from 4pm to 8pm at night. Now Basketball no longer exists in our town.

  • 37% of Australian kids do not participate in sport outside of school
  • 60% of Australian kids do not participate in sport outside of school more than 1 day a week.
  • 75% of Australian kids do not participate in sport outside of school more than 2 day a week.
  • 86% of Australian kids do not participate in sport outside of school more than 3 days a week.

Diabetes

One in five of our children will develop Type 2 diabetes by the time they are 75 and that is if chances don’t increase, which if diabetes continues to rise they will. Diabetes will be the largest killer of Australians and it is 100% preventable.

  • Percentage of Australians with Diabetes has nearly doubled in the past 18 years from 3.3% to 4.9% of Australians with reported Diabetes.
  • Australians over the age of 75 with diabetes is 16%

The need for sport and physical education outside of school hours is growing every year. The key is to keep it varied, as many sports and disciplines a child can learn will keep them engaged and off the devices. A great example is our Young Australian of the Year, Ash Bardy , Ash is a tennis superstar who took 18 months off her chosen sport to play professional cricket and has now switched back like she never missed a beat. Ash used her time in cricket to reignite her passion for tennis, while developing new skills. All physical movement patterns are transferable. A kid can learn to swing a bat and they are better at swinging a tennis racket. Kids learn a Split Jerk and they become better at throwing a punch. A kid learns a jujitsu take down and they become a better tackler on the football field. A kid learns to reject a basketball shot and they become a better netball defense. The more skills we can give our kids and the more diverse range of teachings will improve their chances for a longer and healthy life.

References:

1. Australian Children Health Poll, by the Royal Children’s Hospital.

https://www.rchpoll.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ACHP-Poll7_Detailed-Report-June21.pdf

2. Australian Sports Commission, AusPlay child participation data

https://www.clearinghouseforsport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/796827/AusPlay_focus_Children_Participation.pdf

3. Australian Bureau Statistics, National Health Survey 2017-18

https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Diabetes%20mellitus~50

4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes/contents/how-many-australians-have-diabetes