Our Teenagers Are On Course To Be Inactive, Unhealthy And Unwell

Their report card scores an F for health.

05/07/2016 12:40 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
Teenage boys eat an average of 23 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Almost every health indicator tells a troubling story about Australia's teenagers. Nine in 10 don't do enough exercise, three in 10 are either obese or overweight, they get 40 percent of their daily meals from junk food and the average sugar intake for teen boys is 23 teaspoons a day.

These statistics are part of a new report card by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University and director Rosemary Calder said the numbers were alarming.

"We're setting our young people up for a life of being inactive, overweight adults," Calder told The Huffington Post Australia.

"It's terrifying when you look at just one aspect -- physical activity. We pride ourselves on being a sporting nation but 91.5 percent of our young people aren't doing enough physical activity."

Australian Health Policy Collaboration / Victoria University

Calder said she began this research by looking at Australia's expenditure on preventable chronic disease.

"Take tobacco -- once we understood it kills, we changed the environment to stop people from smoking and to try and prevent people from starting in the first place," Calder said.

Workplaces have taken on tobacco and now they must do the same for physical activity.

"We have to do the same thing with food and physical inactivity to make it possible to be active in the workplace and at home and in every aspect of daily life.

"Workplaces have taken on tobacco and now they must do the same for physical activity."

Australia tackled smoking in the office, what about physical inactivity?
Calder said Australia needed to pull together to change the life course of our young people.

"We need to empower health professionals to do more about prevention," Cander said.

"We're spending 1.5 percent of the national budget on preventative health measures and we need to be doing more.

"In the long run, savings will be made by preventing these lifestyle-related disease before they set in."

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