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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

Making Sports Accessible for Children in Lower Socioeconomic Households in Australia

By Stephanie McBride, Central Queensland University, WHA, 2020

Stephanie McBride is a Bachelor of Paramedic Science student at Central Queensland University. Her policy paper focuses on Making Sports Accessible for Children in Lower Socioeconomic Households in Australia.

Executive Summary

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a global concern (World Health Organization [WHO] 2018) arising from lifestyle risk factors such as physical inactivity and leading to millions of deaths every year. There are numerous measures in place to combat NCDs, though the NCD Alliance (2017) states that these measures often are targeted at the adult population and do not involve children. However, people often adopt an unhealthy lifestyle in childhood that continues into adulthood, and therefore children should be key targets for NCD reform activities. Physical inactivity levels are growing amongst Australian children, resulting in higher rates of overweight and obesity and increasing the risk of developing NCDs. WHO (2018) show that physical activity amongst children can be easily achieved and promoted through sports. Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds were identified as more likely to be physically inactive, overweight or obese and less likely to participate in sports, often as a result of a low income and the costs associated with sport (Tabet 2018).

This paper addresses current physical inactivity rates and financial barriers in accessing sports for children from low socio-economic backgrounds. The proposal expands the current measures of financial assistance for sports registration fees to children. It does this by uniting the individual state and territory schemes into a national standard where Australian children will receive universal assistance and eligibility regardless of the state/territory they reside in.

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