Getting the jump on a healthy lifestyle

Wednesday 16 July, 2008

A recent survey of 3000 parents conducted by Kids - ‘Go for your life' released today reports one third of children are not reaching the recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of activity a day.

State Health Minister Daniel Andrews demonstrated his commitment today to improve the physical activity levels of Victorian children by officially launching the Kids - ‘Go for your life' Move, Play and Go campaign at Bell Primary School in Preston.

As overweight and obesity in Australian children continues to intensify, Minister Andrews said the Kids - ‘Go for your life' Program offers a supportive framework for parents and teachers, with practical options to help ensure children experience physical activity and active play everyday.

"Daily opportunities for active play contribute to optimal development in all children. The Kids - ‘Go for your life' Move, Play and Go campaign supports the fact that active play provides the foundations for children to develop lifelong physical activity behaviours and consequently the enjoyment of a long-term healthy lifestyle," said Minister Andrews.

Dr Suzy Honisett, Manager of Kids - ‘Go for your life' said creating environments for children in which active play is encouraged and enjoyed is vital to reducing childhood obesity and the impact of chronic diseases later in life such as diabetes and cancer.

"We know significant rates of cancers and diabetes are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, and a large proportion of these are due to overweight and obesity. Research shows 25 to 50 per cent of obese children carry it with them into adulthood, and therefore by addressing the childhood obesity epidemic now, we can avoid a steep increase in these diseases in years to come.

"Childcare settings, such as primary schools and early childhood centres, are ideally placed to make a real difference by encouraging physical activity in early life, and supporting children in developing lifelong healthy behaviours," said Dr Honisett.

With the support and participation of parents, teachers and students, Bell Primary has introduced initiatives to support the Kids - ‘Go for your life' Move, Play and Go campaign. Staff role modelling of good physical activity behaviours, borrowing systems for play equipment at break times, and promoting walk and ride to school days are a few ways Bell Primary encourages their students to increase their physical activity levels.

Kids - 'Go for your life' is part of a Victorian Government strategy, managed by Diabetes Australia - Vic and The Cancer Council Victoria.

For more information on the Kids - ‘Go for your life' healthy message campaign visit www.gorforyourlife.vic.gov.au/kids or call 1300 739 899.


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