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Government, schools and family groups should help young New Zealanders get fitter

Government, schools and family groups should help young New Zealanders get fitter
February 3, 2020

The Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ) believes that Government, schools and whanau should get involved in 2020 to help people get active, with Chief Executive Richard Beddie highlighting that 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.

Pointing out that New Zealand has one of the worst rates of children’s physical activity in the world - with 90% not meeting the minimum WHO guidelines for activity, Beddie (pictured below) states “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 attending meetings with the World Health Organization at their headquarters in Switzerland 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% of US high school students are active more than 60 minutes a day.

Beddie adds “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.

Editor's note: Whanau is a Maori-language word for extended family.

Related Articles

30th January 2020 - ExerciseNZ’s Beddie calls for New Zealanders to be more active in 2020

26th November 2019 - Lift Brands’ Ty Menzies joins ExerciseNZ board

20th November 2019 - ExerciseNZ findings endorses new research showing that people becoming more active with the onset of summer

11th November 2019 - ExerciseNZ and Impact Training Corporation partner to boost club and studio sales

3rd October 2019 - ExerciseNZ backs relaunch of Yoga New Zealand

26th September 2019 - Sport NZ announces new strategy to get New Zealanders active

20th August 2019 - ExerciseNZ’s Beddie highlights ways that activity increases life expectancy

24th July 2019 - ExerciseNZ calls for action on New Zealand’s obesity epidemic and physical inactivity crisis

23rd July 2019 - Sport NZ recognises innovative ways to get young women in active

16th April 2019 - ExerciseNZ encourages entries for 2019 New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards

1st April 2019 - ExerciseNZ’s Beddie flags anomaly of New Zealand having high gym membership and low overall physical inactivity

22nd March 2019 - Fitness Australia executive reports on World Health Organization Dialogue

5th September 2018 - World Health Organization advises that lack of exercise puts one in four people at risk

28th June 2018 - Sport NZ survey shows significant drop in activity participation among teenagers

4th June 2018 - World Health Organization launches Global Action Plan on Physical Activity

27th April 2017 - Getting children active is life changing

18th November 2015 - New Zealand sport stars rally to fight obesity

19th February 2013 - Sport NZ invests $2.9 million in active recreation

13th March 2012 - Kiwi children deprived of crucial play time

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