Strategy launched to get more children more active

Sport New Zealand released a strategy yesterday to get everybody moving and active in New Zealand.

The strategy will shape the way Sport NZ invests more than $250million of government and lotteries funding over the next four years. This includes redefining the space in which Sport NZ operates - from sport and recreation to play, active recreation and sport.

The plans focus around the health and playing of those aged from 5-18, because of the worrying decline in physical activity that occurs during teenage years.

Sport NZ's Active NZ data shows that at ages 12-14, 96% have been active in the past seven days, with the age group on average taking part for 12 hours per week.

By the time they reach 18-24 years, only 73% are active each week and the duration has more than halved to 5.5 hours.

"A number of factors combine to cause this drop-off but the clear story we are telling is that if levels of physical activity continue to decline for our young people, the effects will likely continue in subsequent generations," Sport NZ chief executive Peter Miskimmin said.

"Over the next four years our two top priorities are to raise the number of hours each week our tamariki [ages 5-11] are physically active and to reduce the rate of decline among rangatahi [ages 12-18]. We're going to tackle this by taking a very tight focus on where we'll seek to improve the quality of offerings available.

"That focus will be on play and physical education for tamariki, and on active recreation and sport for rangatahi."

The strategy launched today is in two parts: a 12-year strategic direction and the first of three four-year strategic plans.

As well as the short-term focus on tamariki and rangatahi, the four-year strategic plan outlines a significant shift in how Sport NZ will invest for participation outcomes.

"We've learned from our current strategy that the best outcomes are released when you empower local communities to come up with solutions that address their unique situations, and we'll be seeking to work with a wider range of partners to achieve our targeted outcomes."

The announcement follows a recent commitment by Sport NZ and the country's five major participation sports to increase the fun and development focus in youth sport.

This in response to declining youth participation rates caused by negative behaviour perpetuated in the youth sport context.


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