Open letter to the PM on improving NZ fitness levels
Monday, 29 January 2018
Photo: Corinne Austin
The New Zealand 2017 personal trainer of the year winner has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, pleading for more government input to help Kiwi school children get fitter.
Northland’s Corinne Austin won the NZ personal trainer of the year award at the Exercise NZ awards event in Auckland late last year.
In a letter to the prime minister, Austin asks that the government to introduce a national regulation standard for health and fitness professionals to be regulated and governed.
“This will lift the reputability of the qualified and educated health and fitness professionals who currently have to walk beside cowboys who have completed less than adequate if any qualifications to practice in an arena where we are dealing with the health and lives of other New Zealanders.
“During 2017, the fitness sector became the most noted location for ACC claims, even more than rugby. A major factor contributing to this is the huge rise in fitness institutions which unfortunately hasn’t been matched by an equal rise in satisfactorily qualified fitness professionals.
“I would love to work alongside you to change this. We have a register of master builders whom we entrust with building our homes, so our house standards are nationally regulated by the government.
“But yet, we have hundreds of fitness professionals dealing with people’s bodies and people’s lives and potentially putting people at unknown risk and the industry is not regulated by government. In a time and age where fitness institutions are more common than supermarkets and schools, this needs to be seriously re-considered,” Austin says in her letter.
With the start of the new school year and concern over the health and fitness of some overweight Kiwi children, Austin says getting children fitter is a complex issue. It requires a breadth of scope approach to refine and define the types of environments and precise factors involved in raising healthier children who can sustain a healthier weight, she says.
“Essentially this is a community and societal problem and until we all understand all the factors that affect health and weight maintenance then it’s going to be difficult to change.
“The most influential factor that we can begin on is eating real food as close to the source as possible, including as much colour as possible, maximising vegetable intake, drinking water as our dominant beverage choice, good lean cuts of meat, fish and being open to eating good sources of healthy fat too.
“The entire family needs to accommodate this style of eating. This factor alone has the potential to create mammoth change.
“Exercise and movement will help everyone and it is exciting that Exercise NZ and the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals are on the cutting edge of all fitness and developments in the health and fitness sector.
“They both do an incredible job at creating, researching, and developing programmes and services that enable registered health and fitness professionals to maintain great standards of practice. We support them in a way that promotes growth and expansion in both themselves as a professional, as well as their business.
“They have also established solid relationships with many other major corporations (ACC, Inland Revenue) with whom they work in conjunction to create solutions to identified issues and difficulties, for the sake of benefitting the health of the business of fitness professionals, as well as the health of the nation.
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