Inactive kids

Aussie kids were once active kids, going to the beach or park - was the height of entertainment but now exercise has been replaced by electronics.

Busy mum Wendy admits the lures of technology meant her son Corey wasn't getting enough exercise, "we all have busy lives but that becomes an excuse I guess at the end of the day - when there's so much home work to do and organised sport to do, it's so easy to sit down and take it easy"

But Corey isn't alone a new report has graded children around the world and Aussie kids have been given a D minus for physical activity.

Four out of five children aged 5 to 17 aren't getting the recommended hour of daily exercise.

Doctor Natasha Schranz from the University of South Australia is the report's lead author, "we grade quite poorly compared to other countries such as New Zealand and England."

The report card paints a bleak picture 81% of 15 to 17 year olds don't meet recommended screen time limits of less than 2 hours a day. Only one in five secondary students walk or ride to and from school.

And according to Trevor Shilton from the heart foundation - it can lead to a lifetime of health problems, "if we're less active and we're gaining weight there's going to be an increase in diabetes and heart disease and some cancers."

While Aussie kids do score well when it comes to organised activities like that on the sporting field, experts say it's important to add active play into everyday life.

"The big thing we need is more unstructured physical activity. Kids need to be playing they need to be on their own being physically active." Griffin Longley is CEO of Nature Play WA - the organisation works towards getting kids outdoors. "When kids are active and when they play they learn how to interact with other people, their creativity is expanded and increased and they actually do better in school."

AMA president Dr Tony Bartone says we need to act now, "we're looking at some data from the US that shows this generation will be the first generation to have a lowered life expectancy compared with their parents."

Doctor Schranz recommends parents practise what they preach, "create more active transport throughout the week where it's feasible, some running shoes in the boot, play equipment ready to go so if you've got a spare 15 minutes, you're going past a park, stop and join in with them."10 year old Corey has embarked on a lifestyle shake up and is calling for other kids to do the same, "jumping on the trampoline and riding my bike and stuff like that, I feel more happy inside."

Further Details

www.natureplaywa.org.au

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