In the 1970s the archetypal Australian beer-swilling, couch-dwelling character ‘Norm’ was introduced to Australian audiences. Through a series of television advertisements, cartoon Norm was encouraged to get off the couch, put down his beer and turn off the telly, in order to ‘get more out of life’. Life Be In It was a revolutionary public health awareness campaign that tried to educate Australians that they couldn’t catch obesity and the catalyst for better health was sometimes as simple as getting up and walking somewhere.
40 years later and Australia still has an obesity and activity problem – less than a third of Australians are getting enough physical activity to benefit their health – one that the Centre for Sport Social Impact (CSSI) will be helping to solve in partnership with VicHealth, State Sporting Associations and Regional Sport Associations.
“We’re going to be working with a variety of State Sporting Associations to determine whether their programs attract the right kinds of people – that is, those who are relatively inactive – and whether the programs make a difference to their lives,” – Dr Matthew Nicholson.
Funded for $800,000 over three years, the team from the CSSI will work with more than 30 Victorian sport organisations to assess which of their innovative projects work best and for whom. VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said many State Sporting Associations showed out-of-the-box thinking in their funding submissions by coming up with imaginative initiatives and opting to focus on people in their community that often to miss out on regular sporting activities. VicHealth has invested $6million over three years in the State Sport program alone, one of three that the CSSI will be involved with, funding 22 sports to develop sporting opportunities that are low-cost, social, fun and fit in with contemporary lifestyles.
The research team is comprised of La Trobe Business School Researchers Dr Matthew Nicholson, Professor Russell Hoye, Dr Erica Randle, Damminda Alahakoon, Pam Kappelides and Kiera Staley, joined by Allied Health staff Dr Paul O’Halloran and Dr Regina Belski.
Further enquiries about the project should be directed to Matthew Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org