AUSSIE kids are ditching their bikes and relying on their parents to transport them to and from school in the car.
About two thirds of five-year-olds and more than half of nine-year-olds are being driven to school every day, making them among the most “chauffeured*” in the world.
And sales of children’s bicycles in Australia have plummeted* in the past decade, down 28 per cent — or 110,000 bikes — since 2007.
It’s a trend that has left health experts concerned about the lack of physical activity for younger generations who are missing out on daily exercise.
Director of the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University Rosemary Calder said our reputation* as a “sporting, outdoor and leisure-loving nation” was at odds* with the reality of young people’s activity levels.
“Almost three million children and young people are not doing enough physical activity,” Prof Calder said.
“A co-ordinated approach to active travel to and from school will give 3.7 million schoolchildren access to healthy physical activity every day,” she said.
A recent health survey also found only 7 per cent of children did the recommended one hour of exercise per day — with 600,000 failing to meet the healthy guidelines.
Being inactive has been linked to an increase in the risk of health problems later in life.
VicHealth Principal Adviser Dr Lyn Roberts said Australian children were some of the most “chauffeured” in the world and called for a national approach to promote active travel.
National Heart Foundation chief executive, Adjunct Professor John Kelly said it was vital to make sure kids were physically active every day.
“The daily trip to school is one of the best value investments we can make for their future health,” Prof Kelly said.
plummeted: dropped a lot
reputation: what people think of someone or something
at odds : not matching
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Activity 1. Active kids
After reading the article, list all the facts and statistics that are concerning health care professionals regarding kids’ activity levels.
Work with a partner to brainstorm some ways to get children active during the morning and afternoon school commute, thinking of your school and community environment.
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education
Activity 2. Chauffeur driven
Aussie kids are among the most “chauffeured” in the world!
Work in groups of three or four to create a campaign for your school to get children active on their way to and/or from school.
Some ideas for your campaign could be:
• Rewards chart for children actively getting to and from school
• Points for walking, riding or scooting to school around the town
• Buddy program for older students to travel with younger students
• Rewards for many active trips to school (stickers, free time, sporting equipment)
Create a proposal for your campaign to take to your teacher, principal or physical education teacher and see if it can come to life as a real program in your school.
Write a script to present your campaign or ideas at a school assembly to encourage kids to get active when travelling to school.
You may like to include some of the facts presented in the article.
Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: Health and Physical Education, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social
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