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How to improve the grade 

Both the 2015 Progress and 2016 Report Card included Federal and State/Territory ‘Showcase Pages’ that highlighted current programs, policies, campaigns or initiatives in each region. The 2015 Progress Report Card ‘Showcase Pages’ identified ways that each region was promoting, supporting and facilitating active transport participation, while the 2016 Report Card ‘Showcase Pages’ shared the innovative and inclusive ways that each region is encouraging and supporting all children and young people to be physically activity for life.

Top 5 Strategies for increasing Physical Activity in Australia

  • It is imperative that the Australian Government implements a funded national physical activity plan that is based on the best available evidence, targets multiple sectors and is developed in consultation with experts from various sectors. This overarching plan will help guide and unite Australian efforts aimed at increasing the overall activity levels of all Australians.
  • It is crucial that all young Australians be supported to develop the ‘tools’ they need to engage in physical activity across the lifespan, helping to make physical activity easy and accessible. Being physically active needs to become second nature in order to promote healthy growth, development and wellbeing.
  • Children and young people and their families need to be continually educated on the importance of balancing different types of sedentary behaviours, especially since some are more likely to be detrimental than others (e.g., screen time for entertainment vs. study for school vs. reading a book). Parents could use autonomous and supportive parenting practices, whereby they involve children in the formation of household rules and consequences/rewards.
  • Schools need to ensure they have comprehensive physical activity policies in place that outline ways to encourage and engage students in physical activity throughout the entire school day to promote physical, mental, social and academic benefits. For example, in addition to formal physical education classes, schools should promote in-class physical activity and ‘energiser’ breaks. This should be developed in consultation with teachers, parents and students and reviewed over the course of a school year.
  • We need to ensure that public facilities and infrastructures are well maintained, accessible, and take into consideration the different abilities, interests and motivations of all young Australians. A multi-sectorial approach should be used to plan and develop such places. Any land not currently being used effectively could be considered by local, state/territory and federal councils/governments as potential ‘pop-up’ parks and play/activity spaces, which are innovative, functional and encourage lifelong participation for all.

Other sources

The links below provide invaluable information with regard to: why it is important for children to be physically active and to accumulate the recommended amount of physical activity every day; how to assist children develop the tools they need to be physically active for life: and ways of incorporating more physical activity every day.

Resources for media

2016 Report Card media resources

2015 Report Card media resources

2014 Report Card media resources

Publications

Blogs

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