ISABELLA Fisher, 14, is one Australian teenager who is bucking the trend of a damning report by the National Heart Foundation citing Australian children from five - 17 as some of the most unfit schoolchildren in the world.
Isabella says she likes to spends as many hours as she can outside school involved in physical activity, attending dance classes five days a week.
When there’s spare time she jumps in the family pool adding even more exercise to her day.
At Orange High School where she’s a student she’s also involved throughout the day rehearsing as part of the school’s dance program and sometimes before or after school.
“I just love it all - I would be at dancing every day if I could,” the teenager said.
However she is the exception according to the National Heart Foundation report, which has given 80 per cent of school students in Australia a D minus when it comes to physical activity.
The teenager says she’s worked out her school and recreation balance so there’s plenty of time to pursue her interests out of school.
“I do some of my homework before school, some after, or I bring my books to dancing and work in between my breaks,” she said.
Author of the newly released report Doctor Natasha Schranz from the University of South Australia says there is a perception Australia is considered a sporting nation with many children involved in sport.
“But this report clearly shows we need to be turning off televisions and computers and children need to be outside,” she said.
Isabella says although she and her siblings often get driven to school she makes up for that with her busy exercise schedule. President of the New South Wales Primary Schools Principals’ Association, Geoff Scott said principals are mindful of homework loads to bring a balance to family life which includes opportunities for after school activities for children.
“Our principals formulate a homework policy in conjunction with their parent bodies and the feedback is that parents want homework for their children that is relevant and they want to be involved,” he said.
Charles Sturt University staff were contacted for comment on whether or not the pressure of homework after school was limiting the opportunities for outdoor activity and particularly for those students who travel to and from school on a bus.
However no staff from the education or human movement faculties responded to the request.