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16 May 2017

Transcript: AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone, Sunrise, Tuesday 16 May 2017

Subjects: Physical activity levels for Australian children

SAM ARMYTAGE: An alarming new study has found Aussie kids are way behind other countries when it comes to physical activity. The Active Healthy Kids Australia report gave us an overall rating of D minus, ranking 23rd out of 38 countries.

Current guidelines recommend kids between five and 17 years of age do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Shockingly, only 19 per cent of Aussie kids are achieving this goal.

Federal Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Tony Bartone, joins us now. Tony, good morning to you.

TONY BARTONE: Morning, Sam.

SAM ARMYTAGE: We were a once great sporting nation. Are you surprised that Aussie kids are so far behind like this?

TONY BARTONE: This report is not that surprising. We've seen the results in our surgery day on day, with increasing rates of chronic disease. We live in a very time-poor, very technologically advanced society, and now physical activity seems to be the last thing on our mind.

SAM ARMYTAGE: And we all know the catchcry that kids are sitting on iPads and sitting on phones. Many parents are already busy enough, what are some simple ways they can get their kids out exercising?

TONY BARTONE: Well, it's important to understand that the countries that are ahead of us, physical activity is integral to their way of life. So it's about changing the way we perform our day, it's about changing the environment, the culture that we are in.

It might be as simple as just encouraging them walking the dog, or being out and playing. We know that it doesn't have to be continuous physical activity. It's about physical activity in blocks throughout the day that's important.

SAM ARMYTAGE: This is really sad. Do we- do you think that we need another campaign targeting obesity – remember Norm from the '80s, the Life, Be In It. Do we need that again, did it work- will it work these days?

TONY BARTONE: Norm was very ahead of his time for that campaign, and we do need a much more nuanced, a much more sophisticated campaign. It's about public health messaging right across the board, but also education and resources and understanding right from school, to informing parents, to informing community, to the way we even plan communities and the way we set out the communities, encouraging a mix of activities to encourage walking, to encourage playing, to encourage getting out there rather than being inside.

SAM ARMYTAGE: Get off the screens. Thank you Tony. I suppose there's not really a new thing, Mike, if we did have Norm in the '80s so obviously there was an issue back then. We just weren't that aware of it.

MIKE AMOR: I hadn't thought of Norm and Life, Be In It for decades. Thanks for taking me back to that, Sam.

16 April 2017

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Published: 16 May 2017