Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

We Built It: They Didn’t Come

By Tim Olds

A global report gives a gold medal to Australia’s community sporting facilities yet finds that our kids are the second-least active in the world.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It’s “active break” time, and up on the stage a dance instructor is telling us to move in our own “bubble of awesomeness” as conference delegates at the Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children in Toronto make some rather awkward and even absurd attempts at dance moves. I can’t seem to locate my own bubble, so I thought I’d nick out and update you on the first Global Report Card on the Physical Activity of Kids (

The probability of Australian kids coming out on top of the world league in physical activity was only slightly greater than the likelihood of Australia winning the World Cup, and they haven’t disappointed. They didn’t come last of the 15 countries represented – they came second last. Thank God for Scotland.

Only 19% of Australian school-aged kids meet our government guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and only about 30% meet the screen guidelines of no more than 2 hours per day in front of the variously sized idiot boxes. The pain is all the more acute because New Zealand, along with Mozambique, leads the world in physical activity, while Ghana and Kenya are the least sedentary countries.

One of the striking findings from this exercise is the inverse relationship between infrastructure – the availability of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.