Child Health Poll on kids and sport

Are your kids back into the swing of things when it comes to playing sport after lockdown? With the physical, emotional and social benefits of being involved in community sport, there are many reasons why we should encourage our children and young people to return.

The latest RCH National Child Health Poll, made possible thanks to your support, found that half of Australian children have participated in less organised sport and other physical activities since the COVID-19 pandemic as parents say that costs, the risk of catching COVID-19, and frequent disruptions are their leading concerns about returning.

The results show that the majority of Australian parents (59 per cent) believe that their child’s participation in organised sport or other physical activity is just as important, if not more important (37 per cent) to their children’s health and wellbeing than it was before the pandemic.

Dr Anthea Rhodes, Paediatrician and Poll Director, said: “As a parent and a paediatrician, the reduction in participation by Australian children in organised community sport and physical activities is concerning.”

“Organised community sport and physical activities play an important role in promoting positive social and emotional health, and of course, improve our physical health —so there are many reasons why we should encourage our children and young people to get back to participating in these activities,” Dr Rhodes said.

“The mental health impact on children and young people throughout the pandemic has been well documented, including the feelings of loneliness and isolation associated with lockdowns. Aside from the physical benefits, community sport and physical activities are vital in providing children and young people with the opportunity for connectedness, interaction, and support, giving them the ability to develop friendships outside of school and the home.”

Given the well-established physical and mental health benefits of community sport and physical activities, reengagement of children and young people in these activities should be an urgent priority as restrictions ease across Australia.

Find tips for parents and the full poll report on the RCH National Child Health Poll here