A Youthful Perspective on Physical Activity

Did you know that only 8% of young people aged between 13 and 17 get the recommended amount of physical activity each day?

This means that most are missing out on the many benefits of physical activity such as improved health and wellbeing, opportunities for social connection and learning, and chronic disease prevention.

Our State-wide consultation undertaken with the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR) in 2019 confirmed support for young people to be physically active as a key priority for the South Australian community.

URPS has again been working with ORSR to engage directly with young people to better understand what gets in the way of them being physically active, as well as their ideas for change to help them lead healthy, physically active lives.

We have just completed targeted sessions with year 9 and year 11 students at schools across metro Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Using a range of interactive techniques to generate discussion and inspire ideas we have learnt that many young people:

  • Don’t feel they have the time or energy to be physically active.  Key reasons include the time spent at school and travelling to/from school, doing homework and other priorities or commitments such as looking after siblings, part time jobs or wanting to “relax”.
  • Don’t feel that family and friends encourage or support them to be physically active.
  • Feel self-conscious or embarrassed and have had negative experiences such as “body shaming”.

Ideas to support being physically active from young people included:

  • Integrating physical activity into everyday life e.g. walk, ride, scooter, skate to/from school, using stairs, “active brain breaks” at school.
  • Undertaking physical activity in non-judgemental settings/privacy of own home.
  • Finding ways to use technology to get young people moving and helping them know about the wide range of physical activity options available.

This engagement is a great example of ensuring that the voices of young people are heard and that we plan with them, not for them.

Related News