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New campaign in Australia highlights benefits of club sports for kids

2010-08-11

The Australian Sports Commission's campaign 'Play for life...join a sporting club' has been launched right around the country, with enthusiastic support and endorsement not only from the sporting community, but also from schools, health professionals, child psychologists and counsellors, and the media.   Australian Sports Commission CEO Matt Miller said the campaign is a whole of sport initiative, involving state, territory and Commonwealth agencies working together to deliver long-term benefits to families around Australia.   'This campaign, which aims to highlight the benefits of club sport and increase participation, is already achieving remarkable outcomes at a community level,' he said.   Mr Miller said that that an estimated one million children - or 37 per cent of children aged between five and 14 - do not participate in any organised sport. This is in a country where one quarter of children are overweight or obese.   'The key for families is to find a sport that your child enjoys. You may not find the perfect fit first time, but persevere. There are so many options available today - bowls, archery, golf, handball, to the more traditional sports we associate with children such as cricket, tennis, football and netball,' Mr Miller said.   The Australian Medical Association's Dr Pesce believes there are strong links between playing a sport and maintaining good health and wellbeing.   'Providing opportunities for children to play sport can establish lifelong positive attitudes towards physical activity. These attitudes will be crucial if Australia is to tackle its increasing levels of obesity and chronic disease,' he said.   Around 150 'try a sport' days will be held in metro, regional and remote Australia to highlight the variety of local sports available. Hundreds of sporting clubs around the country are involved in these events, working with the Australian Sports Commission to provide a fun, free and safe introduction to sports and physical activities for thousands of children.   The campaign features a new website - ausport.gov.au/findaclub - that helps families easily find sporting clubs in their area. It also includes a communications campaign to general practitioners, school principals and primary school families around Australia, as well as a comprehensive media awareness component.   Johanna Griggs has been an outstanding ambassador for the campaign, sharing her passion and commitment to club sports with millions of Australians as she has launched the campaign in each state and territory and spoken to print, radio and television media.   'I'm proud to be an ambassador for Play for life...join a sporting club. It reflects my own journey with sport - a journey that has helped me get to where I am today. But more importantly, it reflects the positive role that sporting clubs play in my boys' lives ... for life,' she said.
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