Regular physical activity is a key factor in promoting good health and preventing chronic disease. VicHealth has focused its support of sports organisations so that they are better able to promote good health, while also tackling barriers to sport participation, especially for women.
3-Year Priority: More people physically active, participating in sport and walking
Less than a third of Australians get enough physical activity to benefit their health1.
To create opportunities for people to build physical activity into their daily lives, VicHealth promotes participation in sport and active recreation, active travel and the arts. It achieves this through diverse partnerships with the sports sector, government, active travel and recreation agencies, arts organisations, workplaces and more.
The plan underpins all our new approaches in this area. It builds on our previous work, which focused on developing organisational capacity, providing a transition towards more direct engagement of Victorians in physical activity.
Walk to School 2014
Getting kids into a routine of walking puts them on the path to good health for the rest of their lives.
VicHealth’s Walk to School
is a high profile annual community event that encourages primary school students across Victoria to walk to and from school as often as possible during October.
Now in its tenth year, the Walk to School campaign encourages regular physical activity in primary students by supporting them and their families to establish routines incorporating walking, and by supporting primary schools, local councils and communities to integrate walking behaviours into their local settings.
In 2014, 52 local councils across Victoria received grants, resources and support from VicHealth to deliver local Walk to School activities in their area. Walk to School month in October 2014 saw a record 78,628 students and 499 schools joining in.
Our evaluation findings indicated that on average, students that participated in Walk to School 2014 walked significantly more following the campaign, compared to students who did not participate.
Boosting participation in physical activity opportunities
Changing the Game
Research conducted this year showed that women are finding it harder to exercise, with issues including the costs involved, access to childcare, and a lack of social and flexible opportunities. In response, our Increasing Female Participation in Sport initiative supports Victorian sporting bodies to create new programs to engage women and girls who wouldn’t normally participate, as well as raise the profile of female sport.
Together with Sport and Recreation Victoria, we have been working with local councils to strengthen physical activity outcomes. In 2014–15, the final year of BeActive, our emphasis was on further strengthening council policy, planning and frameworks and the activation of initiatives with a strong focus on walking, cycling, active transport, use of open space and engaging local volunteers.
Launched in 2013, TeamUp is a free app to help people join a range of nearby sports and physical activities. With the added support of our TeamUp partners in 2015, the TeamUp community continues to grow.
Getting more people involved in sporting activities
Healthy Sporting Environments Program
To support the development of sustainable policies in sporting organisations, the Healthy Sporting Environments program (2012–14) involved nine Regional Sports Assemblies and 250 local clubs. Our new Regional Sport Program builds on the work with the Regional Sports Assemblies, helping them to increase participation in physical activity through sport, as well as making water the beverage of choice in regional sporting clubs, leagues and facilities.
State Sporting Association Participation Program (SSAPP)
VicHealth’s SSAPP invested almost $13.7 million between 2011 and 2015 to increase participation and help make 31 State Sporting Associations more inclusive. There was a particular focus on people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women and girls.
In the final year of this pioneering organisational and cultural change program, the funded organisations created a foundation for sustainable change to ensure that they could continue to develop greater inclusiveness.
Making it easier to participate
Active Club Grants
This year, a total of 566 clubs across Victoria shared in over $1.3 million in grants for essential equipment to help get more people active through sport.
Innovation Challenge: Physical Activity
We called for new ideas to create flexible, social and less structured ways to get more Victorians physically active. The sporting community enthusiastically met our challenge to take sport and physical activity in a new direction. More than 100 video pitches were submitted and a pool of $400,000 in start-up funding was awarded to seven ideas:
- Back 2 School Fitness – combining fitness with fundraising;
- Pulseraiser – fundraising through running;
- Learn Right Skate School – a formal induction into skateboarding and skate parks;
- CardioNET – encouraging people to re-engage in physical activity through netball;
- Go Explore It – a game-based orienteering activity;
- Play Streets – encouraging free, unstructured, safe street play; and
- Fit Football – an anyone, anywhere, anytime approach to fitness through football.
Back to VicHealth Highlights 2014-15
1Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Australian Health Survey: first results, 2011-12. Cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.