Summer holidays are the ideal time for parents to encourage their children to put away the video games and DVDs and get involved in more active fun, AMA Vice President, Dr Choong-Siew Yong, said today.
"Fun presents that promote fitness such as frisbees, cricket sets, soccer balls and tennis racquets are a great way to get kids interested in physical activity," Dr Yong said.
"Swimming or horse-riding lessons, bicycle outings, backyard cricket, or just taking the dog for a regular run around the local park are all healthy ways to spend time with your family and stay active."
Dr Yong also encouraged parents to sign their children up to after-school and community sport groups, to keep them active through the coming year.
"Participation in sport not only improves physical fitness and mental health, but it can also help children learn better coordination and social skills," he said.
"Pursuits such as cycling and swimming have the added benefit of teaching children water and road safety."
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that children aged from five to 14 years have marginally increased their participation in sport.
"That's great, but there are still many children who aren't involved in regular physical activity," Dr Yong said.
"It's to their benefit to get active."
Dr Yong reminded parents to be sun-savvy and encourage children to go outdoors early in the morning and late in the afternoon, rather than in the middle of the day.
"While we're encouraging increased participation in sport and exercise, it's always important to remember to stay out of the sun between about 10am and 3pm," he said.
"Regardless of what time of day you're going outside, don't forget to wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
"And, of course, parents should help their children to safely learn new skills such as cycling and skateboarding, to avoid accidents."