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Physical literacy moves towards a national standard

26 Sep 2017


The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has released a definition of physical literacy that will underpin a national standard designed to guide the expected physical abilities of people of all ages.

The definition and draft standard is the result of extensive research by Australian and international experts in sport, education and health. The work will contribute significantly towards improving the physical activity levels, holistic development and health of all Australians.

The definition states:

Physical literacy is lifelong holistic learning acquired and applied in movement and physical activity contexts. It reflects ongoing changes integrating physical, psychological, social and cognitive capabilities. It is vital in helping us lead healthy and fulfilling lives through movement and physical activity.

The draft Australian Physical Literacy Standard is now available for public comment. The ASC is encouraging Australians to consider the draft standard and provide feedback on this important body of work that will have an impact on generations to come.

ASC Acting General Manager Participation, Geoff Howes, said it’s important to focus on developing physical literacy in a holistic way that incorporates physical, psychological, social and cognitive elements.

"Too often, the focus is only on developing the physical abilities in participants meaning important skills and behaviours are not developed to support motivation and confidence to be active throughout life.  Physical literacy brings together all these skills and abilities to support Australians to be physically active for life," Howes said.

"Evidence shows Australians are living more sedentary lifestyles and increasingly children are struggling to perform basic fundamental movement skills such as running, throwing, kicking, catching or jumping. Fundamental movement skills are a core foundation of physical literacy.

"We are starting to see a generation of children who lack the confidence, ability and motivation to move and to be physically active. Disturbingly, this is a contributing factor to the increasing rates of obesity amongst children.

"A physical literacy focus supports participants to be physically active more frequently and more confidently which will lead to longer term health benefits such as healthier blood sugar levels, reduced risk of obesity and other non-communicable diseases.

"The Australian Government’s $160 million Sporting Schools program is an excellent start to introduce children to the basics of fundamental movement skills and more importantly the fun that sport can deliver socially for children.

"More than 6,000 schools are signed up to the program, which gets children active, engaged and having fun.

Research that led to the definition and draft Standard is now available at the Physical Literacy page online.

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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.