Australian Kids Cheated Out Of Exercise

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    • Australian Kids Cheated Out Of Exercise

      Australian Kids Cheated Out Of Exercise

      Monday Jan 9 05:56 AEDT

      Australian children and teenagers are losing out on thousands of hours of exercise, a Queensland study has found.

      The Queensland University of Technology study of 3.5 million under 18-year-olds found secondary school students have 600 fewer hours of physical activity a year than their counterparts 30 years ago.

      Primary school children fared better but still have 300 fewer hours of physical activity a year than those of 1975.

      Last months's school leavers had "missed out" on 5,000 hours of exercise at the end of their schooling, compared with graduates 30 years ago, according to the research.

      QUT researcher Dr Ken Edwards said students are more likely to face an early death because of significant lost exercise opportunities since the 1980s.

      "The loss of opportunities for getting physical occurred when about 30 hours of formal physical education and sport a year was gradually deleted from the primary school curriculum," Dr Edwards said.

      "Many children are now driven to school because of security fears," he said.

      "And the average school now has one bike rack where once there were dozens, which means young Australians now have to find 45 minutes a day to do a mix of mild, moderate and vigorous physical activity."

      Many schools and parents traded student exercise for extra academic classes, he said.

      "Despite the flurry of interest by governments in childhood obesity and exercise levels, nothing has been done to increase the level of school-related physical activity," Dr Edwards said.

      Insurance issues could be behind restricted hours and types of exercise in modern schools, he said.

      "This is highlighted by a Brisbane school, which recently sought to unsuccessfully ban the playing of tag and chase games in the playground," he said.

      Almost one in four Australians under the age of 18 are obese or overweight, national statistics show.
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