Cancer Council Queensland is calling on parents, schools and sporting clubs to put the spotlight on team sports to encourage participation among children, ahead of the final State of Origin match tomorrow night.
State of Origin is one of the most followed sporting events in the state, and a prime opportunity to foster a healthy love of sport in Queensland kids.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the match was a timely reminder to consider the benefits of sport and physical activity for our next generation. “Tomorrow night when millions switch on their televisions to watch State of Origin, many children will also tune in to admire their sporting heroes,” Ms McMillan said.
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“Let’s use this opportunity to foster a love of sport in our younger generation and encourage our children to follow their sporting dreams by joining a team at a young age. The benefits of joining a local sports team and engaging in regular physical activity are immeasurable and can significantly improve short and long-term health and wellbeing.”
Ms McMillan said research showed only 45 per cent of Queensland kids aged 5 – 17 met recommended physical activity guidelines. “The statistics are concerning. It’s vital that all children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day,” Ms McMillan said.
“By encouraging children to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes and join a football, netball, cricket, or other sports team, you’ll help develop healthy habits for years to come. Not only will physical activity and a healthy weight reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers later in life – but it develops a child’s social and psychological skills too.
“It’s vital parents also role model healthy, active lifestyles to encourage kids to do the same. In addition to sport, look for other opportunities to help your kids get active too – walk or ride to school with them, or schedule a visit to the park in weekends.
“It’s important to limit sedentary activities – even if children are very physically active, they may experience negative health effects from sitting for long periods each day.”
For resources and information on helping kids get active at schools or childcare centres, join Cancer Council’s free QUEST program at cancerqld.org.au/quest.