LET MELBOURNE KIDS PLAY SPORT

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Melbourne kids haven’t been able to play sport for six months.
 
Participating in sport is central to a child’s health, development and psychosocial wellbeing. It supports brain development, bone strength, muscle control, balance, coordination and helps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Sport improves sleep, anxiety, concentration, self-esteem and confidence. Club sports build a child’s sense of community and belonging.
 
As a dietitian I have been inundated with desperate calls from parents of inactive kids. Their children were previously involved in team sports and are now sedentary and overweight. Kids love to compete with their peers and to be part of a team. Online exercise and the limited pursuits of running or riding within a 5km radius no longer motivates Melbourne kids and they are suffering.
 
Studies consistently show that sport strengthens the immune system. COVID-19 has a more severe effect on those who are overweight and those with reduced, cardiovascular fitness. Outdoor sport has been shown to increase kids’ levels of vitamin D which protects against COVID-19. Sport participation also plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. We are harming our kids both in the short and long term by not allowing them to play sport.
 
Melbourne kids can safely undertake sport at school and in the community. The coming months in Melbourne favour outdoor sport. Outdoor sport lessens the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission as UV light kills 90% of the virus and larger volumes of air disperse it. Australian based research recently published in The Lancet showed that children rarely pass COVID-19 to other children or adults.
 
Only six out of ten children participated in sport outside of school prior to the Melbourne lockdown. Evidence shows that the longer kids are locked-down the less likely they are to return to sport. Melbourne kids are falling behind in national competitions and have missed entire seasons of sport. They have lost the opportunity to develop their skills and strength. They deserve to be physically and mentally fit and they deserve better from their government. Please support this petition so they can return to sport now.
 
Thank you.