A recent survey conducted by nib foundation partner, Alcohol and Drug Foundation has revealed parents believe sporting clubs should play a bigger role when it comes to promoting healthier, safer environments, including the promotion of family-friendly spectator behaviour.
Of the almost 300 parents of junior sports players in Victoria and New South Wales surveyed, 100% agreed that sporting clubs play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles and should promote positive parent and spectator behaviour during junior games.
Participants identified that sporting clubs should become more involved by ensuring parents sign a code of conduct policy when juniors join a club as well as implement healthier eating strategies, such as including healthier food options in canteens and encouraging parents to bring along healthy snacks for their juniors to sport.
The survey was developed as part of the evaluation of the Good Sports Junior pilot program, funded by nib foundation. The program works together with almost 350 junior sporting clubs in Victoria and NSW to help them implement practices and policies that promote safe and healthy sporting environments.
As incidents involving poor parent behaviour continue to be present at junior sporting events, the Good Sports Junior program is also trialling strategies that improve spectator behaviour and make the playing experience more enjoyable for juniors and parents alike.
With more than 60% of Australian children participating in at least one organised sport outside of school hours, community sporting clubs play an integral role in encouraging healthier behaviours.
Despite this, the survey revealed 56% of clubs do not promote healthy food options or distribute information about nutrition and less than 10% of surveyed parents had purchased a healthy food item from their club canteen or barbecue.
The survey highlights the significant gap between parent expectation and club practice as 91% of parents believe sporting clubs have a responsibility to promote healthy food options such as fruit and vegetables through their sporting club canteen.
The health, fitness and social benefits of participating in sport are invaluable. However, there also lies an opportunity for community sports clubs to drive healthier off-field behaviours by changing the way they approach training, match day culture and club celebrations.
We are proud to help support Good Sports Junior to provide participating clubs with a framework and guidance on how to implement strategies and policies that help junior sports players and their families live healthier, happier lives.
To find out more about the Good Sports Junior program click here