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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Healthy mind and body essential for kids

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony today encouraged Australia’s 3.3 million children under 12 to exercise and play more.

Speaking at the launch of the Sorbent Childs Play Giveaway competition, Mr Anthony praised the thinking behind a new competition that gives one kindergarten, child care centre, school or pre-school in each state the chance to win a $25,000 active playground or physical education equipment.

“Childhood obesity has tripled over the last ten years and according to a recent survey, Australia has the second highest rate of obesity in the world.

“One in five children are overweight and one in ten are considered obese. These children are more likely to face health problems later in life such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

“Also, recent research shows that around 60 per cent of Australian children are involved in organised sport yet 95 per cent of Australian children spend 20 hours or more per week watching television, playing computer games or surfing the internet.

“Adults have a responsibility to encourage children to get active, help them watch their diet and set a good example. We owe it to the future of Australia.

“Being active has so many benefits on all aspects of a child’s life. A child’s overall level of fitness, agility and strength has an effect on self confidence, performance at school and the ability get along with others, make friends and become active, happy adults.

“I am pleased to launch this campaign, because I have no doubt of the long-lasting benefits of exercise and play for children. The campaign also shows what can be achieved when Government, community agencies and the private sector put their heads together.”

Mr Anthony said the creation of the new ministry for Children and Youth Affairs clearly reflected the Coalition Government’s strong commitment to putting the needs of children on the national agenda.

“While the Coalition will continue its hard work to ensure the health and well being of Australia’s children it already has a strong record in this area. Our commitment of $6.7 billion to child care over the next four years and implementing vaccination programs that have ensured over 90% of Australian children are immunised are examples of how we are supporting children and families.

“However, the work can’t stop here. I congratulate Australian Family Magazine for coordinating the campaign, Active Australia and the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation for supporting the campaign, and Sorbent for sponsoring this innovative and important competition,” Mr Anthony said.