Research in Australia shows insufficient physical activity is often found in communities in low-socioeconomic areas where its effects are heightened by poor nutrition.
Both physical activity and poor nutrition are major modifiable risk factors in the reduction of a number of chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Research conducted by Professor Murray Drummond and the SHAPE (Sport, Health and Physical Education) team at Flinders has produced an innovative health project with local low-socioeconomic area schools to assist in modifying behaviours in young Australians and thereby promoting healthier choices.
The Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program brings fruit and vegetables, fun activities and local sports heroes into the school environment to promote physical activity and good nutrition as positive lifestyle choices.
Run by University students, together with local league footballers, the program employed a degree of ‘cool’ to engage children in healthy lifestyle initiatives that working with teachers and parents couldn’t deliver.
In addition to the predicted outcomes of the program, teachers reported that children expressed significantly increased interest in attending high school and seeking tertiary education as a direct result of engaging with the Flinders students in the Flinders – Panthers Be Your Best program.
Professor Drummond is now working with the South Australian National Football League to expand the program into additional schools with additional football clubs in the future.
For more information contact the SHAPE Research Centre