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Activated Group Tackling Obesity

Activated Group cartwheeled its way into schools more than 17 years ago with the sole aim of getting Australian children moving.

Latest data from the ABS shows 27% of children aged 5 to 17 are overweight or obese. Children who become obese are likely to stay obese into their adulthood, the consequences of which are a greater risk of suffering from obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other.

Activated Group is Australia's leading provider of gymnastics and dance programs to primary schools.

General Manager Sue McIver explains Activated Group targets children in their early school days to instil a love of movement early.

“The way our programs operate is keeping kids 100% active, 100% of the time. By that I mean for the entire session, their hearts are pumping,” Sue says.

“We wanted kids to be exercising and not even know they were exercising because they are having so much fun.”

Activated Group offers schools two programs, School Gymnastics and Australian School Dance, which are structured to ensure children are moving for the entire 40-minute session and are run in place of their classroom lessons.

“We took a long-term approach and chose gymnastics because on the surface it can seem quite challenging, but we break it down so children learn how to do each move. They learn a new literacy around body and movement.”

Sue says children also learn resilience.

“Some skills can look quite difficult but our lesson plans ensure they absolutely can’t hurt themselves and achieve the most amazing skill outcomes,” she says.

“I think we need to build a community of kids who are more resilient. Our programs challenge kids by presenting them with a difficult concept and then working with them to break it down and strategically work towards an end result. Effectively they challenge their physical capabilities and learn that anything is possible if you keep trying.”

Sue says both the School Gymnastics and Australian School Dance programs have been tried and tested to deliver exactly what schools need.

“We have been doing it so long now, we know every aspect of best practice. We never cut corners or compromise on professionalism or quality. We could literally write a book on how much our programs are valued in schools. “

Sue says that making programs accessible to students is highly dependent on how much it is going to cost the parents.

“We have not lifted our prices in 10 years. If that’s not evidence of our commitment to getting all children moving, we don’t know what is! Basically, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, parents can give children the gift of a healthier body, health literacy, creativity, self-esteem and resilience.”

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