The World Health Organisation (WHO) called on member states to use one day every year to promote physical activity (PA) as an essential for health and well-being.

In 2017, Physical Activity Day was celebrated worldwide on 6 April, themed ‘Active Person! – Happy Person!’ with the objective of promoting PA and prevent non-communicable diseases through PA. In this regard, South Africa has compiled a physical activity report card based on benchmark criteria to determine the status of physical activity (PA) and nutrition in youth and presented the results along with 38 other countries in Bangkok, Thailand at the 6th ISPAH Congress in November 2016.

This report card was drafted by the Healthy Active Kids South Africa research team (HAKSA), of which Prof. Anita Pienaar, the leader of the kinderkinetics programme at the NWU was a part of. The PA report card focuses on the current status of physical activity level; organised sports participation; active and outdoor play; active transportation, physical fitness and motor proficiency of SA youth and the results are based on search strategies including peer-reviewed manuscripts, dissertations, and ‘grey’ literature.

Overall, South African children received a C-grading for physical activity. Results regarding screen time and sedentary behaviour of children were of major concern as obesity is on the rise, receiving a D grade (21-40%). Overall PA levels and organised sports participation of SA children received a C grade (41-60%), while government policies received a B (61-80%).

Recognition of the importance of promoting PA in children and youth, for the primary prevention of obesity and certain non-communicable diseases, is important. PA during childhood is essential for normal growth and development, while PA and sport provide a platform for social development and for promoting gender equity.

Kinderkinetics is a profession that seeks from a health perspective to develop the motor and physical development of young children through scientifically based physical activity programmes to optimise their health and well-being. Recently, the Clinic for Kinderkinetics (NWU) under leadership of the manager, Mr Barry Gerber, showed their support of World PA Day by getting involved in an exciting day of pre-school athletics. Children and parents from Maranathaland, Suikerbekkie, Tjokkerplaas and Byenes schools in Potchefstroom took part in various forms of PA including running, jumping, bag races and completing obstacle courses.

 

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