Australian high school students are increasing their risk of developing chronic diseases in later life due to a lack of activity, a new study has found.
The National Secondary Student's Diet and Activity survey – funded by the Heart Foundation and Cancer Council and published in the February 20 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia – examined 12,188 students across the country.
Results of the survey indicated that 18 per cent of secondary school students were categorised as overweight – with another five per cent categorised as obese – and were more likely to be male and come from lower socioeconomic areas.
"These findings suggest that preventative measures should include a particular focus on facilitating physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour, as well as promoting adequate sleep," researchers wrote.
"Creative supportive environments for physical activity may help to promote increased physical activity among young people and could possibly displace time spent in small-screen recreation."
Families with private health insurance may be able to access weight loss and management services through their policy cover in order to help implement lifestyle changes for adults and adolescents alike.
The Department of Health and Ageing claims that 61.4 per cent of the Australian population is either overweight or obese.