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Are we creating the right environments for youth fitness?

Are we creating the right environments for youth fitness?
April 19, 2013

While the Australian and New Zealand Governments are desperately trying to manage and mitigate the incidence of obesity and diabetes in children and youth, author Wendy Sweet believes that there is a need for regular 'fitness' training for younger people - as opposed to 'physical activity' (which has a different definition).

With an extensive background in the New Zealand fitness industry, Sweet, who lectures in nutrition and wellbeing and exercise prescription at the University of Waikato, believes that it is time for the fitness and recreation industry to increase their knowledge on how best to generate 'meaning' around fitness for youth members in order that they enjoy participation 'for life'.

Writing in the March/April 2013 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Sweet states "teenagers have many demands competing for their time at school, at home and within their communities, so how to keep teens involved and participating in meaningful physical activity has been identified as a future challenge from the perspective of both Sport NZ (previously SPARC) and the Australian Sports Commission. It could well be argued that the key word here is 'meaningful', not only in terms of participation preferences of young people, but also in an increasingly obese society, in terms of 'results'."

Sweet argues that in a changing western consumer and 'image'-driven world, where the prevalence of adolescent inactivity and obesity has become an important health issue there are perhaps other sources of 'meaning' for over-weight and obese youth.

She writes "meanings (might) derive from the inherent value youth participants gain from engaging in structured and supportive exercise and fitness programmes that target 'results'."

Sweet adds "at a time when government health promotion initiatives generate population intervention guidelines and advice relating to 'activities of daily living' , the term 'fitness' is absent from discussions on youth obesity and diabetes.

"The preferred terms 'physical activity and movement skills' have prominence in both the Australian and New Zealand Health and PE curriculum instead. Yet, the difference between being 'physically active' and being 'physically fit' is important from a bio-medical perspective."

The full feature 'Fit for Life' can be read in the March/April 2013 issue of Australasian Leisure Management. 

7th October 2011 - IHRSA REVEALS ASIAN AND AUSTRALASIAN FITNESS CLUB PERFORMANCE

2nd September 2011 - GLOBAL GOVERNMENTS MUST ‘GET TOUGH ON OBESITY’

16th October 2009 - CALYPSO INNOVATES IN YOUTH FITNESS 

20th August 2009 - KIWISPORT A $82 MILLION MISTAKE?

17th August 2009 - KIWISPORT INITIATIVE GOOD FOR CHILDREN

3rd April 2009 - FREE SPORT AND RECREATION FOR MANUKAU YOUTH

24th October 2008 - NEW CHAIR AND REGISTRAR FOR NZ REGISTRATION BODY 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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