Lifestyle & Belief

Australia is apparently raising a generation of overweight couch potatoes


Malaysian children play soccer in Kuala Lumpur on May 19, 2014.

Australia's image as a sports-loving nation is under threat.

A study comparing the physical activity of children from 15 countries found Australia is raising a generation of couch potatoes.

Australian school children ranked 11th for overall physical activity, the Active Healthy Kids report card found.

Scoring a lowly D-, Australia was behind Mozambique, England, Ghana and even Mexico, which, it should be noted, has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world.

It was ahead of Canada, Ireland, the United States and Scotland.

Only 19 percent of Australians aged 5 to 17 are getting the recommended amount of daily exercise, which is at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity, according to the study, which was devised by Canada in 2005 and expanded this year to include 14 other countries.

While Australia ranked second behind New Zealand for participation in organized sport, researchers said this was not enough to make up for the amount of time spent sitting on the sofa.

Australia scored a D- for sedentary behavior, putting it in ninth place, with more than 70 percent of its youngsters spending more than two hours a day watching television or other electronic screens.

“We’re raising a generation of couch potatoes and if we don’t start to reverse this trend this will drive up health problems in the future — obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease,”  Professor Trevor Shilton of the National Heart Foundation told the Guardian

Here are the country rankings. 


1. Mozambique, B



2. New Zealand, B



3. Mexico, C+



4. Kenya, C



5. Nigeria, C



6. England, D+



7. Colombia, D



8. Ghana, D



9. Finland, D



10. South Africa, D



11. Australia D-



12. Canada, D-



13. Ireland, D-



14. United States, D-



15. Scotland, F