A SPORTS science researcher backing a proposed multimillion-dollar basketball and netball sporting hub has said it would be a lifelong investment into improving the health of the region.
Based at Federation University, Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention research fellow Scott Talpey said the state-of-the-art facility had the potential to create a space where children could develop strong ties with physical activity, that would last a lifetime.
Mr Talpey is also the strength and conditioning co-ordinator for the Ballarat Basketball Association.
He said participating in physical activity from a young age could not only be a preventative measure against obesity and other detrimental health impacts that arose from physical inactivity, but it also provided children with mental and social benefits.
His words come in the wake of geographical snapshot of Australia’s heart health, released by the Heart Foundation earlier this month, which shows Ballarat is the worst region in the state for cardiovascular disease and the worst region in the nation for physical inactivity (85.3 per cent), the third worst for smoking (28.1) and the 10th for high blood pressure (40.6).
It also ranks 27th for obesity (32.9) and 63rd for high cholesterol (29.2).
In Victoria, Ballarat ranks top for CVD, smoking and physical inactivity and second behind Latrobe/Gippsland for high blood pressure and obesity.
“As part of my role, I look at community sport and research from a performance perspective,” Mr Talpey said. “We know that it is crucial children start physical activity from a young age and that being a part of basketball club or similar is a fantastic avenue for young people to start a healthy lifestyle.”
He said investment into high quality facilities that supported sporting clubs was essential in keeping young people involved.
“It gives them a sense of pride and they are more likely to keep participating,” he said. “But not only this, it creates a space where young people can be interactive with their friends and find mentors in their coaches.”
Mr Talpey said the proposal had the potential to cement Ballarat as the leading city for sport in regional Victoria.
“Sport is something that Ballarat already does exceptionally well, but this facility would really separate us from other regional areas,” he said. “It’s not just an investment into basketball, there are fantastic junior netball and junior volleyball teams that may be able to utilise this development as well.”