Partnership aims to get people moving

In the 1970s the archetypal Australian beer-swilling, couch-dwelling character 'Norm' was introduced to Australian audiences. Through a series of television advertisements, cartoon Norm was encouraged to get off the couch, put down his beer and turn off the telly, in order to 'get more out of life'.

Life Be In It was a revolutionary public health awareness campaign that tried to educate Australians that they couldn't catch obesity and the catalyst for better health was sometimes as simple as getting up and walking somewhere.

Forty years later and Australia still has an obesity and activity problem - less than a third of Australians are getting enough physical activity to benefit their health. This problem is one that La Trobe's Centre for Sport Social Impact (CSSI) will help to solve in partnership with VicHealth, State Sporting Associations and Regional Sport Associations.

Funded for $800,000 over three years, the team from the CSSI will work with more than 30 Victorian sport organisations to assess which of their innovative projects work best and for whom.

Dr Matthew Nicholson, Associate Professor at CSSI, said the funding partnership was the result of extensive collaboration with VicHealth. 

"We're going to be working with a variety of State Sporting Associations to determine whether their programs attract the right kinds of people – that is, those who are relatively inactive – and whether the programs make a difference to their lives," Dr Nicholson said.

"A lot of this work is aimed at encouraging greater female participation in sport and to find out which programs have worked, and why they worked."

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said many State Sporting Associations showed out-of-the-box thinking in their funding submissions by coming up with imaginative initiatives and opting to focus on people in their community that often to miss out on regular sporting activities.

VicHealth has invested $6million over three years in the State Sport program alone, one of three that the CSSI will be involved with, funding 22 sports to develop sporting opportunities that are low-cost, social, fun and fit in with contemporary lifestyles.

The research team is comprised of La Trobe Business School staff Matthew Nicholson, Russell Hoye, Erica Randle, Damminda Alahakoon, Pam Kappelides and Kiera Staley, joined by Allied Health staff Paul O'Halloran and Regina Belski.

Successful State Sporting Associations set to deliver game-changing healthy sporting projects include:

* AFL Victoria
* Badminton Victoria
* Baseball Victoria
* Basketball Victoria
* Blind Sports Victoria
* Bowls Victoria
* Calisthenics Victoria
* Canoeing Victoria 
* Cricket Victoria
* Cycling Victoria
* Football Federation Victoria
* Golf Victoria
* Gymnastics Victoria
* Hockey Victoria
* Lacrosse Victoria
* Lifesaving Victoria
* Netball Victoria
* Swimming Victoria
* Tennis Victoria
* Touch Football Victoria
* Triathlon Victoria
* Yachting Victoria 

Media contact:

Leah Humphrys

Ph: 03 9479 5353

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