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Decline in family spending on out-of-school children’s sport and physical activity in 2017

Decline in family spending on out-of-school children’s sport and physical activity in 2017
May 22, 2018

Australian parents spent $2.1 billion on organised out-of-school children’s sport and physical activity last year, a decline from 2016 when $2.5 billion was spent.

The spending, identified in the latest AusPlay report from the Australian Sports Commission, shows that $1 billion was spent on boys’ activity in 2017 and $1.1 billion on girls’ activity.

Dancing and taekwondo topped the list of sport registrations at $440 and $420 respectively, while the cheapest sports for registration included Australian football, which is heavily subsidised by the AFL, and Touch Football at $115 and $100.

Commenting on the dip in expenditure, Nicole Lessio, acting Executive Director at The Parenthood, said parents were doing all they could to save money and sport was no exception, advising “basically people don’t have the sorts of cash that they once did and as the cost of living goes up parents are looking around at different clubs and codes and seeing the cheapest and easiest way they can get their kids participating in sport.”

The AusPlay findings also show a rise in children’s activities in fitness clubs with children as young as five taking part in special sessions designed to improve their fitness – largely to boost their sporting performance.

With children’s activites delivering a $40 million boost for the fitness industry, around 63,000 youngsters are involved in gym-based programs, with parents spending a national average of $200 per child over the 12 months in 2017.

Kate Palmer, Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Commission, advised that children could be wanting to model their own parent’s gym habits, with fitness/gym the number one physical activity for adults nationally, telling the Australian “the gym absolutely can provide children the ability to learn about their limbs and muscles but what it doesn’t do is give you a team environment. It is not a play space.”

Fiona Brooks, Professor of Public Health at the University of Technology in Sydney said families could save on that $40 million-a-year figure by getting outside and exercising together rather than in a gym, advising “sending kids to the gym might be putting pressure on them that is just not necessary. I would say running together in a park with your child is much better for them than running on a treadmill.”

Troy Walker, YMCA Health and Wellness Manager, said demand for youth gym memberships was at a high, concluding “the reality is that not all young people are interested in playing footy or netball so YMCA gyms provides a real opportunity for them to get active and develop healthy habits for life.”

The AusPlay report surveyed more than 20,000 individuals, including more than 3000 parents, about their activity levels and the activity levels of their children. 

Image: The Fitness First Kids program (top) and Les Mills' Born to Move youth program (below).

12th May 2018 - MORE CHILDREN TRYING SPORT, BUT DESIRED ACTIVITY LEVELS STILL NOT BEING MET

11th May 2018 - SPORTS COMMISSION WELCOMES FUNDING TO GET AUSTRALIANS ACTIVE

9th May 2018 - FEDERAL BUDGET BACKS SPORT AND ACTIVITY, DISAPPOINTS ARTS AND TOURISM

6th February 2018 - SIX MILLION PARTICIPANTS MAKE SWIMMING AUSTRALIA’S TOP SPORT AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY 

21st November 2017 - REPORT SHOWS MASSIVE COMMITMENT TO YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S SPORT BY AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES

17th November 2017 - NEW AUSPLAY FIGURES SHOW FOOTBALL LEADS SPORT PARTICIPATION RATES IN AUSTRALIA 

24th March 2017 - FITNESS INDUSTRY BENEFITS FROM DECLINE IN SPORT PARTICIPATION 

23rd March 2017 - MASSIVE DECLINE IN AUSTRALIANS’ PARTICIPATION IN RUGBY, SQUASH AND TENPIN BOWLING 

8th December 2016 - LANDMARK STUDY FINDS SPORT STRUGGLING TO KEEP YOUTH ENGAGED 

25th September 2016 - 1.2 MILLION PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN SPORTING SCHOOLS PROGRAM 

19th June 2014 - FITNESS FIRST INVITES TEENAGERS TO STAY FIT DURING THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 

21st May 2014 - AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN GET D GRADES IN FIRST EVER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY REPORT CARD 

19th March 2014 - LES MILLS ON A MISSION TO GET YOUNG PEOPLE MOVING

19th April 2013 - ARE WE CREATING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENTS FOR YOUTH FITNESS? 


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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.

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