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More support for physical activity in schools

More support for physical activity in schools

Fifteen new Active Schools facilitators have been appointed to help schools enhance children's health and wellbeing, Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard and Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor announced today.

These appointments are part of the government's increased commitment to the Active Schools initiative which aims to improve the physical activity opportunities and experiences available in New Zealand primary schools.

The increased investment, from $1.2 million to $2.3 million, will provide for the appointment of 15 new Active Schools Facilitators from 1 July 06, bringing the total number throughout the country to 32.

"The key role of an active schools facilitator is to promote and support physical activity in schools and to encourage children to choose and enjoy life-long physical activity," said Trevor Mallard.

The facilitators use a health promotion model where schools and their communities take responsibility for meeting the needs of children in relation to physical activity.

"Active Schools is about empowering and supporting pupils, educators, parents and the wider community to participate in regular quality physical activity," said Trevor Mallard.

Research from around the world provides evidence that children benefit from physical activity in a number of ways, Damien O'Connor said.

"Being active helps the brain develop, leading to better academic performance, improved self-esteem, and better all-round health," said Damien O'Connor.

This initiative is part of the government's Healthy Eating – Healthy Action strategy which is supported by government agency Sport and Recreation NZ (SPARC) with an investment of almost $17 million over the next four years. This will provide increased support for school programmes, early childhood physical activity and the Green Prescription programme.

In addition to this, Budget 2006 also committed $76 million over four years for a campaign to fight obesity.


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