Investigators: Hayley Christian, Anna Bird, Karen Lombardi
Children’s activity patterns, including their physical activity and screen time behaviours, have wide-ranging impacts on their physical and psychosocial health, school performance, and wellbeing. Around 10% of Australian 5-12-year-old schoolchildren – nearly half a million children - attend Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) every week. OSHC represents an ideal opportunity to positively influence the daily activity patterns of a vast number of children, at a formative stage in their lives.
At present, physical activity and screen time practices in Australian OSHC services are not guided by clear policy. As a result, practice varies enormously, with instances of OSHC services allowing unrestricted recreational screen time for over five hours per day, and providing no opportunity for physically active play.
This project focuses on the implementation of OSHC physical activity and screen time best practice guidelines, which we have recently developed in close consultation with the OSHC sector and stakeholders.
The first stage of the project will develop online resources and training that will assist OSHC services to take up the guidelines and build them into their daily programming. The resources will be packaged as a voluntary accreditation process, through which OSHC services can become recognised as an “Activated OSHC” service.
The resources and accreditation package will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial involving 162 OSHC services across three states: SA, WA and NSW. Evaluation will focus on understanding the effectiveness of the package in supporting sustained changes in physical activity and screen time in OSHC, understanding implementation outcomes (e.g. how the guidelines work from the perspectives of OSHC directors, educators, families and children), and cost-effectiveness.
The guidelines will then be released nationally in a dissemination study, in which we will work with marketers to raise awareness of the guidelines and accreditation process. The dissemination study will measure awareness, uptake, and changes in practice in OSHC services throughout Australia.
- Online resources to assist OSHC services to provide optimal physical activity and screen time programming within their services.
- Online professional development modules for OSHC educators.
- Development of an accreditation process to enable OSHC services to become recognised as “Activated OSHC” services.
- Peer-reviewed journal papers with the study protocol and findings.
- Various communication activities including conferences, media release, community presentations
- Dissemination workshops in every state co-hosted with National Outside School Hours Services Alliance (NOSHSA) state branches.
- National Health and Medical Research Council – Partnership Grant
- Medical Research Future Foundations (MRFF) – Maternal Health and First 2000 Days Early Childhood and Exercise and Nutrition
- Department for Education South Australia
- Healthway Western Australia
- Hunter New England Local Health District Newcastle – Healthy children’s initiative
- University of South Australia (Prof Carol Maher)
- Professor Carol Maher – University of South Australia
- Professor Luke Wolfenden – Hunter New England Health/University of Newcastle
- Dr Nicole Nathan – Hunter New England Health/University of Newcastle
- Professor Adrian Esterman – University of South Australia
- Professor Tony Okely – University of Wollongong
- Associate Professor Lucy Lewis – Flinders University
- Professor Ric Rosenkranz – Kansas State University (USA)
- Dr Dylan Cliff – University of Wollongong
- Dr Rachel Curtis – University of South Australia
- Dr Rachel Milte – Flinders University
- Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority
- National Outside School Hours Services Alliance (NOSHSA)
- Outside School Hours Council of Australia
- Big Fat Smile (NSW)
- Wellbeing SA
- YMCA SA
- YMCA WA
- YMCA NSW
Senior Research Fellow, National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow08 6319 1040 Email me