The vehicle that AHKA uses to help increase awareness and drive this need for change is the Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People. The Report Card synthesises the best available Australian evidence in order to assign grades to physical activity indicators, and provides a national snap shot of the current levels of physical activity in Australian children and young people.
The purposes of the Report Card are:
- to encourage all Australians to make changes in their lives to promote, facilitate and model positive lifestyle behaviours of increased physical activity participation and reduced sedentary behaviours among the children and young people of today and tomorrow;
- to inform policy changes and decision-making across various sectors with the aim of increasing physical activity participation; and
- to highlight where more research is needed to better understand the physical activity of Australian children and young people.
This year marks the release of the second Full AHKA Report Card on Physical Activity of Children and Young People, which assesses 12 physical activity indicators (physical activity behaviours, traits, and the settings and sources of influence, and strategies and investments, which have the potential to impact these behaviours and traits). As in 2014, Australia was assigned a failing grade (D−) for Overall Physical Activity Levels. This Report highlights the concept of Physical Literacy, specifically the ‘tools’ children need to be physically active for life. The results of the 2016 Report Card will contribute to the second ‘Global Matrix’ of grades, this time benchmarking Australia against 37 countries.
The AHKA Progress Report Card on Active Transport for Children and Young People was launched on November 11 2015. A C grade was assigned with only about half of Australian school students using active transport to get to and from school at least once per week. And with fewer Australian children walking or cycling to school today than ever before, the theme of the 2015 Progress Report Card was "The Road Less Travelled".
The 2015 Progress Report Card received interest from various national and state/territory-based stakeholders and it was the first time AHKA included ‘showcase’ pages from each state and territory highlighting current programs, policies or initiatives that promote, facilitate or support active transport participation.
In May 2014, AHKA released its inaugural Report Card alongside 14 other countries at the Global Summit on Physical Activity for Children held in Toronto (www.activehealthykids.org). The Australian Report Card posed the question: Is sport enough? While ‘Organised Sport’ was graded a B- with well over half of young Australians participating in some form of organised sport, Overall Physical Activity Levels was graded a D-, with less than half of Australian children and young people meeting the daily physical activity recommendation, and ultimately generating the key message: Sport is not enough.
The Report Card reached 11 million Australians through various media platforms, with AHKA and the Report Card initiative also receiving extensive interest from various national, state and local stakeholders.
Both the 2014 and 2016 AHKA Report Cards were developed via a harmonised process as part of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrix. At present the Global Alliance is a collaboration amongst 38 countries (from six continents, representing 60% of the world’s population) with the Global Matrix allowing Australia to compare how well it performs in promoting and facilitating physical activity opportunities relative to the rest of the world.
All Country Report Cards and Global Matrix results are available from the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance website.