Doctor Ken Powell interview

Be active blog recently had a chat with be active 2012 keynote speaker, Doctor Ken Powell about his conference presentation, and all things physical activity.

The interview is a small preview of some of the fascinating insights Ken will be providing at the be active 2012 conference, in just two weeks.

Ken Powell

Q: What are the key points you will be discussing at the upcoming be active 2012 conference?

A: I will be telling stories about physical activity, true stories about how we learned about the benefits of activity and how we arrived at our current crisis of inactivity. The stories touch upon human evolution, the development of scientific knowledge, and the withering of physical activity. I will also wonder how we will think about physical activity in the future and whether we will learn to do population-wide physical activity promotion.

Q: What do you believe are the key barriers to physical activity and how might we best overcome these?

A: The key barriers that prevent us from more successfully developing and implementing policies and practices to encourage and facilitate regular physical activity are:

1. A refusal to take the health importance of physical activity seriously.

ƒ2. The persistent conceptualisation of physical activity as high intensity sport and exercise.

ƒ3. The failure to recognise the full range of health benefits of activity, instead giving recognition to physical activity only as a possible aid to weight control.

ƒ4. A focus on high-risk rather than population-wide activity promotion.

ƒQ: What is your perception of Australians in terms of physical activity?

A: I have always thought of Australians as people who love being outdoors and active. I think of Australia as a, if not the, leader in the scientific study and promotion of physical activity. Unfortunately, even the leaders in our field have a long way to go.

Q: What things in regards to physical activity promotion could and should be done in a place like Australia?

A: To successfully reverse the decline in regular physical activity in Australia and elsewhere will require a serious commitment not only from government but from business, schools, community organisations, and other components of society. Evidence of serious commitment must be manifest at the highest levels of leadership in all of these organisations. Serious commitment entails strategic planning and tangible support for capacity development, program planning and implementation, surveillance and evaluation of progress and activities, and ongoing research. The commitment includes the recognition that for people to be physically active the society as a whole must have policies and environments conducive to physically active living.

Q: When was the last time you came to Australia?

A: I last visited Australia in 1996 for the 3 International Conference on Injury Prevention and Control (Melbourne). I also visited Australia in 1977 and 1987.

Q: What are you looking forward to doing/seeing most when you come to Sydney?

A: I look forward most to attending and participating in the 4th International Conference on Physical Activity and Public Health. I know I will learn a lot from the other people at the meeting. I am particularly interested in learning what they think about physical activity and its promotion. I also look forward to visiting my brother and his family who live in Adelaide.

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