Over a quarter of Australians are obese, and more than a third are overweight, and while much focus of the current sports grant scandal has been on political interference, University of South Australia sports experts are calling attention to the potential health and fitness consequences arising from mismanagement of resources for sport.
UniSA world-renowned expert in sports administration, Associate Professor Ian O’Boyle, says the harm caused by inappropriate management in the sector has a very real impact on the wellbeing of the community.
Funding is already incredibly difficult to obtain for many community sports clubs, particularly those that do not operate out of local government owned infrastructure and cannot benefit from the maintenance and upgrades that local governments undertake in those facilities.
To make up the deficit in funding that may otherwise have been provided by this scheme, the onus will be placed on members, parents and families to ensure such clubs can continue to operate and provide vital community services in the delivery of sport and recreation.
The already high cost of sport participation will likely rise in these clubs, further marginalizing those from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and creating increased barriers and constraints to active sport participation.” Assoc Prof Ian O’Boyle
Assoc Prof O’Boyle’s concerns are echoed by movement and exercise expert Professor Tim Olds, who says the cost associated with sports is often prohibitive for many families, and as such, economic disadvantage may have a direct impact on the health of children.
"Sports account for 40 per cent of all the time kids spend in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and 50 per cent of all the energy they expend in MVPA,” Prof Olds says.
“The rest is accounted for by walking and cycling, and free play. Kids from poorer households spend less time playing sport, probably due at least in part to the cost of uniforms, equipment, lessons and subscriptions. There is evidence that sports participation has been declining over recent decades, accompanied by a decline in fitness and an increase in fatness." Related Stories
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