Examining our generation of couch potatoes

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Leading exercise scientist Dr Grant Tomkinson will unpack the results of Australia’s first physical activity report card for children and young people at a thought-provoking public lecture being held at the University of South Australia this week.

Dr Tomkinson, a senior lecturer and researcher in the University’s School of Health Sciences, was the lead investigator on the report card which examines one of the most critical health issues facing Australia and much of the world – the epidemic of childhood inactivity.

The Active Kids Australia 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People, released in May, found that while a large number of children are obtaining some of their weekly physical activity from organised sport, its broad message is that ‘sport is not enough’.

Dr Tomkinson says the report graded Australian children’s overall physical activity levels with a D-minus.

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

Dr Tomkinson says Aussie kids are less fit, heavier and don’t track well when it comes to global physical activity levels.

“Interestingly, though, the report card shows we have the structures in place in terms of school curriculum, the community and built environment,” he says.

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“We’re building it and they’re not coming. We’re living in a culture of convenience, a ‘cotton wool’ culture – the structures are all there but it’s not converting into physical activity.”

Dr Tomkinson encourages not only policy makers, educators and coaches to attend the lecture, but also mums, dads and their children.

“As a father, coach and exercise scientist, I’m really passionate about the issue of childhood inactivity and I’m looking forward to presenting a dynamic lecture that really gets people thinking,” he says.

(Source: University of South Australia)

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Date Created: September 27, 2014