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Quality health and physical education improves academic results

ACHPER, ASPA, APPA and Tennis Australia are voicing collective concern about recent new evidence showing that we are putting kids at early higher risk of chronic disease and impeding their academic progress by failing to provide quality Health and Physical Education in all schools.

The associations warn that now more than ever before, health education, physical education and sport needs to be at the forefront of our children’s education.

“Findings from the Australian Lifestyle of our Kids (LOOK) study led by Prof Dick Telford has demonstrated that children who were taught quality Health and Physical Education entered secondary school with a substantially increased progression in nationally assessed numeracy and literacy, in addition to a range of important health benefits,” said National Executive Director of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER), Alison Turner.

“This recent new evidence of the health and academic benefits, as well as the extremely important social benefits, vindicate the premise that mind and body work together for optimal educative development of the child.

“We highlight a collective need for Principals and Government to start listening to what the LOOK findings prove, which is that quality Health and Physical Education improves academic performance in schools, especially numeracy,” said Turner.

President of APPA, Dennis Yarrington, said that improving the support and access to a Physical Education specialist teacher for classroom teachers will ensure all students access high quality Health and Physical Education lessons.

“We need to ensure our graduate primary teachers are entering the school with the confidence and competence to teach the Health and Physical Education learning area of the curriculum,” Yarrington said.

“This challenge is not just for schools to solve. It requires a community, government and other organisations collaborative response. This can be best achieved through a National Physical Activity Strategy that will provide direction for the future. We need to see this as investing for a more active and healthier community and for the future health of our children”.

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