Report calls for a healthier community for children

A NEW report by researchers from the University of Canberra reveals that safer streets, more play spaces and greater opportunities for physical activity are key to improving the health and wellbeing of local children. 

Prof Tom Cochrane addresses the Shaping Spaces for Gen Z forum at the University of Canberra.

The “Shaping spaces for Gen Z –International Forum Report” outlines how Canberra can help address childhood obesity, chronic disease and mental health, among other issues.

Professor of public health Tom Cochrane says improving the health and wellbeing of children was a shared responsibility among the entire community.

“We’d like Canberra to lead the way in addressing issues like childhood obesity, chronic disease, mental health, social inclusion and positive development, and better planning is the foundation stone to build a healthier community,” Prof Cochrane says.

“The priorities as we see them are safe access with well-designed walking, cycling and mixed-mode transport routes around schools; play infrastructure for all ages and abilities; and environmental movement and play in all schools.

“If we can shape the places where we live to encourage better lifestyle choices then we can help ensure a healthier future for our communities.”

The recommendations call for increased observation around travel routes to and from local schools and seeking residents’ feedback on safety in their area.

It also suggests monitoring how many students are using active transport options and gauging whether kids’ activity levels are regarded as a high priority in communities.

“Children have the right to the best opportunities we can provide for their social, psychological and physical development, and Canberra is a city which has potential for every child to achieve this,” Prof Cochrane says.

The report produced by the University’s Health Research Institute (UC-HRI) follows the “Shaping Spaces for Gen Z” forum, which was co-hosted by the University and the Urban Synergies Group earlier this year.

UC-HRI’s Professor of Public Health Tom Cochrane said improving the health and wellbeing of children was a shared responsibility among the entire community.

View the report here.





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