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YMCA says Australia tops wrong leader boards
Australia may not have topped the Olympics medal table but it continues to lead the world in the obesity ranks and other chronic illness, while boasting high levels of family breakdown and youth suicide, all of which need more attention, according to not-for-profit, community organisation, the YMCA.
YMCA of NSW Chief Executive Phillip Hare (pictured) said the attention placed on Australia's Olympic performance is seemingly at odds with the focus given to our country's health and wellbeing, stating "while the Olympics is a fantastic global event, some justify the expense of the Games as promoting the benefits of being active and encouraging grassroots participation.
"But there is absolutely no correlation between Olympic performance and a nation's health.
"Take a country such as Finland for instance which has finished the Games with a single silver medal and two bronze and yet was ranked second in a list of 'happiest places on earth'.
"In Australia, we need to seriously consider what leader boards we are topping and what we are doing about it?
"There's no denying that elite sport and the Olympics has its place, but we need to focus on preventative health measures and Australian's participation in physical activity every single day.
"For two weeks every four years Australia becomes obsessed with climbing the Olympic medal ranks, but what about all the other days in between are we actively trying to reduce our obesity ranking and improve community health?"
Hare believes a holistic approach to Australia's health is needed and that encouraging families to be active and healthy together is key to this.
He adds "improving health is not just about being physically fit, but having access to programs and services in local communities that promote mental and emotional health and wellbeing also.
"The Y firmly believes that local pools, recreation centres and sporting facilities can be the family hubs of a community and places where families can come to spend quality time together being active and healthy. Healthy, happy families are the cornerstones of vibrant, strong communities. If, as a nation, we want to curb obesity levels, family breakdown and youth depression, we need to focus more on the family unit and provide opportunities in local communities for that unit to be strengthened."
Through initiatives such as Family Membership and Fee Assistance, which make participating in a range of YMCA programs and services at 38 locations across NSW affordable for many, the Y is helping to improve the health and wellbeing of families across NSW.
The YMCA is also a leading provider of aquatic, fitness and recreation programs and management services.
For more information go to www.ymcasydney.org.au
8th March 2012 - URBAN DESIGN CAN BOOST ACTIVITY AND HEALTH
2nd September 2011 - GLOBAL GOVERNMENTS MUST ‘GET TOUGH ON OBESITY’
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18th September 2009 - BABY BOOMERS SHOULD LIVE LIKE ATHLETES
18th May 2009 - ENVIRONMENT TO BLAME FOR OBESITY
19th March 2009 - YMCA CALLS FOR INVESTMENT IN HEALTH
9th February 2009 - 24/7 FITNESS CLUBS OFFER OBESITY SOLUTION
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