Keeping older people active and alive - report

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A report partly developed by Sport Bay of Plenty has been released supporting the notion of keeping older people alive by keeping them active.

Sport NZ's most recent national participation survey (Active NZ 2013/14) found that more than three-quarters of New Zealanders aged 65 to 74 years take part in one or more sport or recreation activity each week.

The discussion document has been developed as part of Sport NZ's Community Sport Strategy, which is focused on better understanding and responding to the needs of specific participant groups.

Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman welcomed the survey's findings.

"If we want New Zealanders to remain active in their later years we have to ensure we're offering them the right opportunities," said Dr Coleman.

"Being physically active has many benefits for older people including enhanced social integration, reduced health and social care costs, prevention of injury such as falls and enhanced productivity.

"Developed by Sport New Zealand in conjunction with Sport Bay of Plenty, Active Older People, is designed to start a conversation within the sector on how to meet the needs and aspirations of older people.

"The discussion document will help to support those who deliver sport and active recreation at a community level, and also organisations that work specifically with older people.

"It reflects older peoples' views on life and sends a very clear message that we can't stereotype. Older people are diverse, and their interests and engagement in community sport and recreation are broad - from walking through to Masters sport."

Research for the discussion document involved focus groups and in-depth interviews with older Kiwis. For more information go to: www.sportnz.org.nz/activeolderpeople

- Bay of Plenty Times

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