Giving health a sporting chance

20 November 2009

Deakin University's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research believes the recently released Future of Australian Sport report provides a number of recommendations that if implemented have the potential to significantly contribute to the health of Australians.

It applauds the recommendations to broaden the definition of sporting success to include measures of participation in activity, to increase the focus on physical education in schools and to invest in sporting infrastructure.

Associate Professor Jo Salmon, Deakin University expert in physical activity and health, said that it is worrying that more than half of Australian children and adults are not meeting current physical activity recommendations and noted that the link between physical activity and health cannot be disputed. "We know that people who are more physically active have better health and are less likely to develop chronic diseases," she said.

"We need to invest now in strategies that enable all Australians, regardless of their age, abilities or circumstances, to participate in physical activities that interest them if we are to improve population health. To this end, it's vital that sport, in all its forms and recreation activities, is properly resourced and supported.

"Our research shows that some of the reasons people are inactive are lack of facilities and lack of opportunities to be active," Associate Professor Salmon said. "Investing in infrastructure, strengthening connections between the community and sporting clubs and improving access to recreation facilities will help to overcome these barriers.

"The Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research believes that the Future of Australian Sport report provides a real opportunity for the Rudd government to impact on the physical activity levels and future health of all Australians. We recognise there are challenges ahead, but we urge the government to act on this report to ensure that all Australians have the opportunity to be physically active."


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