September 3, 2009

Community leaders turn into “Warriors and Warlocks” for health


Schools, local politicians, businesses and even the Bunbury’s mayor joined Bluearth CEO Mal Brough, former Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and former swimming champion Shelley Taylor-Smith at Australind Primary School today for a game of warriors, warlocks and elves. 


Guests were surprised when students from Waroona, Harvey, Yarloop and Australind Primary schools insisted they join them on the school oval to play Bluearth games. The Bluearth program is a unique health and movement education program that utilises the physical activity domain to develop the whole child.

Mal Brough, CEO of the Bluearth Foundation said “The Bluearth Foundation programs assist teachers to maximise learning outcomes for all students and have been shown to improve self confidence, cooperation, awareness of others and students ability to concentrate and stay on task.

“Independent evaluations have verified that students who take part in the Bluearth program also show significantly reduced projection of body fat for their age group, increased postural stability and improved academic results in Literacy, Numeracy and reading as measured by the national standard NAPLAN test scores.

“Bluearth is working hard to ensure that the benefits of the Bluearth programs are accessible to schools and communities Australia wide. Alcoa’s investment has made further expansion possible by bringing the benefits of the Bluearth to students in the Peel and Southwest regions.”

Alcoa Refinery Manager, Eugenio Azevedo agreed with Mal “The program has had excellent results and Alcoa is very pleased to be a sponsor of Bluearth Foundation. Our support enables Bluearth to deliver the program to primary schools in the communities were we operate and our employees live”.

Today’s lifestyle is fast paced and many people forget or don’t have time to engage in physical activity. The Bluearth program instils strong desires and habits in students to stay active, benefiting them throughout their entire lives both physically and physiologically.

BACKGROUND

Who is Bluearth Foundation - www.bluearth.org
The Bluearth Foundation (Bluearth) is a registered charity founded in 2000. It is operated with the express purpose of improving health and preventing diseases of sedentary living by providing programs and information for the development and integration of body, mind and spirit through participation in physical activity.

Bluearth Achievements
Bluearth programs have been adopted in about 10 percent of all primary schools around the nation. To date:
• 700+ schools are involved
• 45,000+ students have participated in sessions
• 1,300+ teachers have been professionally trained

What is Alcoa of Australia’s involvement - www.alcoa.com.au
Alcoa is proudly sponsoring the Bluearth program in 15 schools from Pinjarra to Australind.

What is Sedentary Death Syndrome
The term Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS) is a recent designation by leading scientists to represent the growing collection of "hypokinetic" diseases threatening public health. It reflects health conditions caused or exacerbated by a lack of adequate physical activity, and is responsible for increasing rates of premature morbidity and mortality.

In Australia, physical inactivity alone has been identified as the risk factor placing the second leading burden of all disease (behind tobacco), and it impacts on three of the other top ten risk factors (high blood pressure, obesity and high blood cholesterol). While the human cost of inactivity is devastating, the economic costs of physical inactivity contributing to ill health generally runs to approximately 15% of total health care expenditure. 1997 estimates indicate that over 44% of the Australian population are at risk for Sedentary Death Syndrome, health conditions caused or exacerbated by a lack of adequate physical activity

Schools in attendance:
• Australind Primary School
• Parkfield Primary school
• Harvey Primary school
• St Annes Primary School
• Yarloop Primary School
• St Josephs Primary School
• Leschenault Catholic Primary school