Latest News

Back to Latest News back


ESSA highlights the urgent need for Australian children to increase their physical activity

ESSA highlights the urgent need for Australian children to increase their physical activity
November 27, 2018

Launched today at the Movement to Move Event in Adelaide, the third Active Health Kids Australia (AHKA) Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People has seen Australia once again assigned a failing grade (D−) for Overall Physical Activity Levels, showing no improvement from the previous reports in 2016 and 2014.

With the global report indicating that over 80% of 12–17 year olds are not accumulating at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is reminding parents, coaches, teachers, friends and family of children that encouraging any form of physical activity is vitally urgent for the health of Australian children and young adults.

“Physical inactivity levels in children has reached a critical level. Many children around the world, including in Australia, are not moving enough to maintain healthy growth and development,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive.

With the Report providing a national snap shot of the current levels of physical activity in Australian children and young people, 2018’s report benchmarked Australia against 49 countries which left us tied at 32nd place out of 49 countries for our Overall Physical Activity grade.

“We live in a beautiful country that loves sport. In fact, Australian children were graded a B− for participation in organised sport and physical activity and a B for participation in physical activity at school. We need to continue encouraging, supporting and facilitating opportunities for Australian children and to engage in more physical activity every day.”

The theme of this year's Report Card highlights the seemingly forgotten component of our national physical activity guidelines – that children should engage in muscle and bone strengthening activities for a range of physical and mental health benefits.

The Australian guidelines indicate that children should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone on at least three days per week, however the AKHA data shows that only 13% of 15–17 year olds are meeting this guideline.

“Muscular fitness is important to children and young adults as it’s associated with improved bone health, self-esteem and perceived sport competence; lower levels of fatness, cardiovascular disease and metabolic risk; and lower risk of premature death,” explains Hobson-Powell.

The problem may lie in that we typically associate muscular fitness with going to the gym and lifting weights. The truth is that muscle and bone strengthening in children can look like activities and games such as:

  • tug-of-war or hopscotch
  • body weight exercises such as squats and push-ups
  • rope, tree or rock climbing
  • running or sports such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball and tennis
  • and even playground fun such as swinging or hanging from equipment.

Although it may be as simple as running around at lunch time and on weekends for most children, the needs of those living with chronic conditions and disabilities should not be ignored.

Exercise Right for Kids was developed to help inform parents, coaches, teachers, friends and family of children who may be living with, or at risk of, a chronic condition to exercise safely for a healthier life.

“Children should not be held back from being physically active because of any condition, disability or injury. In fact, exercise can play an important role in helping them manage their quality of life and help ease or treat their condition.”

Each condition comes with individual traits and complexities, hence the importance for children to exercise right for who they are. It is crucial for families to get in touch with their local Accredited Exercise Physiologist who can provide expert care and exercise prescription for their child’s condition and physical activity needs.

To find out more about Exercise Right for Kids, visit

To read the 2018 AKHA Report Card in full, visit

Related Articles

26th September 2017 - ESSA Relaunches Exercise Right for Kids

6th July 2017 - ESSA calls for investment in physical activity in Indigenous communities

8th February 2017 - ESSA concern over falling fitness levels among Australian children

8th October 2013 - ESSA calls for further disability funding

11th August 2017 - ESSA expresses concern over reliance on online exercise advice

26th September 2018 - ESSA flags that Australians don’t need a gym membership to be active

28th September 2017 - ESSA highlights how physical activity is beneficial for all ages

24th May 2017 - ESSA reminder on the importance of exercising for a healthy heart

7th November 2018 - ESSA supports 2018 Movember Movement campaign to improve men’s health and wellness

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 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.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Aflex Technology

Aflex Technology are the experts in all things inflatable. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach inflatables on the market. All products…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



SICO is at the forefront in innovative mobile folding and rolling, space efficient tables, stages, dance floors and many other products which help our customers optimise their use of space. Image…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Venues


Abel Sports

INTRODUCTION Abel Sports is Australia’s leading manufacturer and suppliers of Goal Posts, sports ground safety netting systems and coaches boxes for Stadiums ,Sports Clubs, Councils and…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Venues



Regupol Australia Pty Ltd offers a comprehensive range of recycled rubber fitness and leisure flooring surfaces. Their range of products include everroll rubber flooring, Regupol elastic…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Surfaces



Mattioli provides award winning painting, flooring and waterproofing services to the aquatics and recreation sector. We’re recognised as the leading contractor in the industry with award-winning…

read more

Aquatics / Recreation / Safety



Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more




Ausfit began in 1992, providing software services to the health and fitness sector including ClubWise, a fully hosted web-based product which combines state of the art club management software,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business