Queensland children get most of their exercise in their free time rather than at school or in organised sport, research shows.
A new study by the Queensland Government has found 42 per cent of children’s physical activity happens during play or in activities with parents.
“Parents may presume that children get all the exercise they need from organised sport, but this study highlights that it is not correct and it is important for them to play an active role in children getting out and moving,” Australian Medical Association Queensland vice-president Dr Michael Cleary told The Courier Mail.
The parents of 2296 school children were surveyed as part of the study, which revealed only 15 per cent of exercise came from organised sporting games and 33 per cent from activities at school.
Dr Cleary said the home was a good place to set an example for diet and exercise.
The latest Health of Queensland Report shows that in 2016 it was estimated 59,000 of the state’s children were obese.
“The foundation of good health is established in childhood. This report shows that less than half of kids are getting their recommended one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. As kids grow older, they are less likely to meet national exercise standards, so we need to make changes,” Dr Cleary said.
The report also highlighted that only 10 per cent of exercise came from children riding or walking to school.
Dom Courtney from Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation and Nature Play QLD said the results emphasised the critical importance for all children to play outside during free time.
“It would be great to see higher physical activity levels during school hours… but outdoor play during free time is confirmed as the most important aspect for kids,” he said.
View the research here.