Arthur Street School pupils Jadin Cummings (left, 7) and
Bailey Owens (11) play in the rain yesterday. Photo by
It seems Otago children have cleaned up when it comes to
being the most active children in New Zealand, a new laundry
powder survey shows.
Persil New Zealand surveyed 261 parents around the country
and found Kiwi children were doing well in international
terms in keeping active.
Within the survey, it was revealed Otago children were
leading the way compared with other regions in New Zealand.
The survey found almost half of Otago children (43%) spent
more than three hours a day outside, whereas only 14% of
Auckland children, 15% of Waikato children, 11% of Wellington
children and 21% of Canterbury children spend more than three
hours outside a day.
The survey also found that Otago children spent the least
time watching television.
Only 14% of Otago children spent most of their free time
watching television, compared with 42% of Auckland children,
20% of Waikato children, 36% of Wellington children and 50%
of Canterbury children.
When it came to the amount of time spent daily using
electronic devices such as cellphones, tablets or other
computers, 28% of Otago children spent more than an hour,
whereas 50% of Auckland children, 60% of Wellington children
and 95% of Canterbury children spent more than an hour.
A recent survey by insurance company Southern Cross Health
Society showed that people from Dunedin were the nation's
most frequent exercisers, with 47% of Dunedin respondents
say-ing that they exercised at least four times a week.
Overall, the Persil survey found New Zealand children spent
more time being active when compared with other children
around the globe.
In Australia, 37% of children typically spent less than 30
minutes a day being active outside, while in New Zealand only
5% of children fell into that category.
The survey also revealed New Zealand children were spending
less time on electronic devices, 80% having two hours or less
''screen time'' each day.
This contrasted dramatically with a recent study in the
United States, which showed American children were spending
on average, more than seven hours a day using electronic
Triple P New Zealand Ltd child psychologist Jackie Riach
believed that Otago children led the way in terms of being
outside and doing physical activity.
However, she questioned why Otago children spent so much time
''Is it the attitude of their parents? Is it that they have
more outdoor play space? There could be many factors why many
Otago children play outdoors more.''
While Ms Riach did not know the answers, she said that it was
encouraging to see electronic equipment was not entirely
taking over children's lives in the South.
It was important for children to engage in a range of
activities, including outdoor physical play, because it
helped them build confidence, develop motor skills and
enhanced their emotional wellbeing, she said.