In an aggressive move against the rise in childhood obesity, members of YMCA South Australia managed recreation centers now receive free membership for their children aged under 10.

The initiative, which is available to all current and new all-access members, has been launched with the aim of encouraging parents and guardians to be active with their children in a bid to combat the current trend towards a sedentary lifestyle.

YMCA South Australia CEO, Haydn Robins, said the move would create a number of positive outcomes for both children and their families.

“Childhood obesity is a major issue across the nation and we wanted to provide an incentive for people to act,” he said. “Encouraging physical activity is vital for promoting a healthy lifestyle and being active together as a family can increase social bonds and improve relationships and general wellbeing.”

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics state that 23 per cent of South Australian children aged between 2 and 17 years are overweight or obese.

This alarming statistic is supported by the latest Active Healthy Kids Australia report card which grades Aussie kids with a D minus for overall physical activity levels and for screen time. The report goes on to indicate only 1 in 5 children are meeting the recommended level of aerobic activity each day.

“The more inactive a child is, the greater their risk of becoming overweight and children who engage in physical activities that they enjoy, tend to spend less time in front a screen,” said Mr Robins.

“Free Child Membership is designed to make it easier for a visit to a YMCA centre to become ‘family time’. By removing the cost barrier, what has been a traditional adult-based activity is now practical for the whole family. Our centres are community based and there are many pool and land based activities available that the whole family can participate in.”

In addition to launching Free Child Memberships, YMCA South Australia also recently released reciprocal rights, enabling families to access some of the state’s best and largest pools and recreation centres with their YMCA membership.

To learn more about Free Child Memberships visit https://www.sa.ymca.org.au/childmembership