Chronic disease is Australia’s biggest health challenge.
The urgent need to prevent and better manage chronic disease through lifestyle behaviours, like physical activity, necessitates the National Sports Plan does not tokenise non-sports and recreational activity. A broad focus on physical activity would help overcome the barrier that sport and its traditional emphasis on competition has for some segments of population to which this has negative connotations. The preventive health agenda within the Plan provides a rare opportunity to re-define the meaning and value of sport and must focus on the powerfully beneficial role the sport and physical activity sectors can play to make a meaningful, demonstrable difference for individuals, families, community and society as a whole.
The Heart Foundation applauds the government’s preventive health focus which acknowledges that physical activity and sports participation are complementary, rather than separate, elements in getting Australians active enough for their good health.
To boost physical activity rates through the implementation of a National Sports Plan we recommend:
1. The Government rename the plan – National Plan for Sports and Physical Activity.
2. A whole-system approach that brings together government, health agencies, NGOs, schools and the private sector to build national partnerships that encourage and support physical activity at the local level.
3. The Government consider hypothecating revenue such as alcohol taxation and a levy on sugar-sweetened beverages – for an agency that has national leadership and oversight for increasing physical activity and sports participation through the implementation of a National Plan for Sports and Physical Activity.
Read the whole Heart Foundation submission here: Heart Foundation submission – National Sports Plan