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SPARC Launches Active Movement For Under Fives

Monday 21 March 2005

SPARC LAUNCHES ACTIVE MOVEMENT FOR UNDER FIVES

A new initiative which aims to get more young children more active has been launched today by SPARC CEO, Nick Hill, and Sport & Recreation Minister, Trevor Mallard.

The Active Movement initiative and its resources - developed for early childhood educators and parents/caregivers - were launched at Wellington's Hataitai Kindergarten. The resources recommend appropriate ways to incorporate physical activity into young children's lives.

SPARC Chairman John Wells said the resources - a series of 14 brochures - were developed by SPARC in collaboration with parents, educators, Plunket, the National Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society, NZ Gymnastics, the Ministries of Health and Education and the sport and recreation sector.

"It's critical that we, as parents, educators, and policy-makers, get more Kiwi kids more active, more often. It is easy sometimes to focus on the negative. Childhood obesity rates are rising. And physical activity levels among children are declining.

"SPARC's resolve is to help turn both these trends around - in partnership with educators, parents, relevant government agencies such as the Ministries of Education and Health, and key NGOs," said John Wells.

While Active Movement focuses on the 0-5 year olds, it fits within a much broader strategy of SPARC's in ensuring New Zealand is the most active nation.

"Once these children here today start primary school, SPARC's Active Schools initiative will have been running for at least a year. Active Schools is designed to deliver on the Minister's recent education policy change which sees physical activity being given more of a priority in primary schools.

"And while both Active Movement and Active Schools aim to increase physical activity participation levels, we believe they will also have a flow-on effect of building the pool of talented, world-class Kiwi athletes who have the ability to get up and perform on the world stage," said John Wells.

Copies of the resources are available from Regional Sports Trusts. Sport Bay of Plenty CEO Dame Susan Devoy said "Sport Bay of Plenty is excited about this wonderful initiative and looks forward to supporting and promoting Active Movement in the Bay of Plenty region. These additional resources will encourage children and families to become more active; at no cost this is a worthy initiative by SPARC to address the decreasing levels of physical activity particularly in our young people."

ENDS

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