Reducing childhood obesity through safer sport

With a growing concern of the rising rates of childhood obesity, it’s important to consider that as well as a healthy diet, children need to participate in an adequate amount of physical activity.

Research conducted by the University of New South Wales found that parents are preventing their children from participating in sport and other recreational activity because of injury and safety concerns.

Although sporting injuries can occur, with adequate preparation and preventative measures it’s possible for children to play sport safely with minimal risk of injury.

If you’d like some detailed information on children’s participation in sports in Australia, you can read more here.

Playing sport is one of the easiest, most sociable and most enjoyable ways of exercising. A parent’s role and attitude towards their child playing sport is highly influential on the child’s enthusiasm and participation rates in sport and physical activity.

Tips for parents in keeping their children active and injury free in sport and physical activity:

  • Show your children that you think physical activity is important by being active yourself.
  • It is important for parents to be positive and encouraging, you are your child’s role model.
  • Teach your children the skills for the sports they want to play and practise with them.
  • Provide your child with the correct safety equipment. Find out from the coach the equipment your child needs for the sport, obtain professional advice before purchasing equipment.
  • It is important to teach children how to properly warm up and cool down after physical activity. Include stretches that are appropriate for their age.
  • Ensure children keep up their fluids before, during and after physical activity. Make sure they drink from their own water bottle.
  • Provide a nutritious diet.
  • Ensure coaches/officials are aware of any medical conditions your child may have, for example asthma. Fill out a medical history form for your child provided by the club
  • Whenever possible, stay and watch your child play for the entire game.
  • Contribute positively, for example volunteer to make sandwiches for the players.
  • Participating in sport and physical activity is a great way for children to stay fit and healthy. Staying injury free also guarantees children will keep enjoying their sport for the long term.
A family taking a rest from a bike ride - perfect for reducing children obesity through safer sport

AusKick is one of the most popular children’s sports programs in Australia. If you’d like to know how you can best prevent injuries whilst playing Australian football, you can read more here.