Gravitating South: the Spread of Obesity and Inactivity


Here goes…a long overdue blog post following a 2 month sojourn ‘Down Under’ which involved a series of meetings with various educators in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland. The spaces between these places may not have featured on any business agenda, but they did provide us with anecdotes and inspiration in abundance.


The initial seeds for the trip can be read in the blog post written by our Director, ‘Blogging from a Plane’.


During our meetings, the conversations invariably turned to the subject of obesity and the fact that Australia has the fastest growing rates of obesity in the world. “The results of the global study into obesity rates, published in the medical journal The Lancet, show almost a quarter of the country’s children and 63 per cent of the adult population is overweight. Australia’s obesity levels are now on par with the United States, but slightly less than New Zealand.” For further details, click here.


During our meetings there was also detailed conversations about the issue of inactivity and the links with obesity. This need to emphasise the difference between the issues of obesity and inactivity is backed up in the UK with the recent BBC News report, Inactivity ‘kills more than obesity’, This was also reflected in various conversations at the Youth Sport Trust’s Annual Conference, which linked to the recent article, Child obesity rates ‘levelling off’ among under-10s

What struck us on our travels ‘Down Under’ was that Australia seems to be something of a paradox. Yes, there are the statistics mentioned above, but the attitude to sport in its widest sense can not be bettered. As the number of people participating in swimming in the UK falls, the legacies of 2 Olympics in Australia live on. Whether it be a vast multitude of water sports, running, cycling, roller blading, beach volley-ball, tennis or rugby in both its codes (all of which were clearly evident on our travels) sport is certainly encouraged and celebrated. There may well have been some larger people on view, but the overall sense was one of positivity towards being active.


The Australians are renowned for their sense of humour and direct approach to life; this was evident in our meetings and subsequently by various recommended videos. Please take time to watch:

‘Break the Habit’ – Childhood Obesity Ad Australia

“Measure Up” Australian obesity TVC

Powerful Anti-Obesity Ad


Thanks once more to the following folk for meeting with us, entertaining us and in certain cases hosting us:

Check out #aussieED and their website as well as join in conversations with the folk in India, Nepal and New Zealand at #INZpirED.


Please seek them out on Twitter and check out their blog sites, each uniquely passionate and inspirational. Special mention to Ritu Sehji, whose knowledge of nutrition certainly helped us consider better ways with which to engage Learners in making healthier choices.


Looking forward to finding out more, in either hemisphere and online too.