Christchurch – Government, schools and whanau should get involved in 2020 to help so more Kiwis become active, Exercise NZ says.
Richard Beddie, chief executive of Exercise NZ, says while physical activity helps people with obesity, there is so much more to active movement than weight control, from mental health to slowing down degenerative diseases later in life.
“New Zealand has one of the worst rates of children’s physical activity in the world – with 90 percent not meeting the minimum WHO guidelines for activity.
“The solution needs to involve government, schools and whanau as well as those that delivery physical activity options in and out of education settings.
“Already many city and district councils and exercise professionals offer support and direct programme delivery to children, with many outreach programmes being successful in schools. This is everything from yoga to more traditional group exercise classes.
“It’s important that any physical activity programme takes an inclusive approach and not just focusing on sports, as this can be detrimental to the uptake of physical activity by children who don’t consider themselves sporty.
“Programmes in schools should take into account physical literacy as well as physical activity levels, using a range of tools to help young people move their bodies.
“Those that wish to explore sport can, and those that want to be physically active in other ways should also have options available. A modern activity curriculum can include yoga, group exercise, cycling as well as sports and other exercise options.
“I plan to contact Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to raise the worrying issues of a nation of unfit people and offer solutions that start with young people and support New Zealanders throughout their lives.”
Beddie, who addressed the WHO in Geneva last year, says he backs the research of US health professor Mike Metzler, who has lectured on exercise in Christchurch. Professor Metzler says only about 20 percent of US high school students are active more than 60 minutes a day.
“There is much concern that the young generation will have a shorter average life span than their parents. Much of that is due to diseases attributable to sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits,” Professor Metzler has said.
“There is much concern that this will be the first generation to have a shorter average life span than their parents. Much of that is due to diseases attributable to sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits.”
Professor Metzler, a professor of physical education teacher education at Georgia State University, is regarded as a world leader on research into school children’s physical fitness.
For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188