About Let's Play
Let’s Play is a corporate social responsibility initiative developed by SuperSport and partners in response to a National need. Our children are becoming alarmingly inactive. They can’t catch balls or walk on a balance beam. 20% of our children are overweight and physical education has almost been entirely eliminated from government school curricula. Family activities follow the path of "least resistance" as parents and kids opt for "sedentary play" activities. This has to change!
The reality of our society is that children’s lifestyles are increasingly affected by “adult” social evils: inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol and drug abuse. Their lives are sedentary and children have forgotten (or have not been taught) how to play. Instead of heading outdoors for an afternoon of fun and activity, they stay indoors tied to television screens and interactive electronic games. As a result children are growing up without the benefits that regular activity offers: good health and fitness, physical skills (balance, agility, speed and co-ordination), increased immunity, nutritional awareness, improved body image, confidence and self-esteem, social skill development and the making of friends.
Our Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, echos, "Playing sport is a wonderful way to improving yourself. Your body becomes fitter and healthier but at the same time you build good friendships and learn how to interact with many people".
Simplistically, overweight children become overweight adults. Lifestyle diseases like obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are directly related to inactivity and poor nutrition (high fat foods, too much salt and sugar and too little fibre, fruits and veg), are on the increase in young adults. The establishment of regular activities and good health in early life instils good habits in later life. SuperSport CEO Imtiaz Patel adds, "A healthy body and a healthy mind go together. By encouraging more children to participate in some sort of activity will improve the fitness of the population and lead to a healthier, more productive society."
But children are just children. They learn bad lifestyle habits from adults (parents and teachers) and their environment. Results from the SANEP (South African Nutrition Expert Panel) study found modern South African families to lack balance, which encourages the formation negative lifestyle patterns in children. Parents arrive home late from work and rest over weekends. They resort to fast foods as an alternative to preparing home-cooked meals. Their children, left alone for long periods, generally opt for "sedentary play" activities like TV viewing (and eating) as well as computer games. Their exhausted parents are often too tired to engage in "active play", choosing instead to join their kids watching TV! And so the cycle continues.
This is where Let’s Play comes in.
Our aim is to elevate awareness of our social situation and to introduce and encourage play, activity and sport in schools and at home. This is done through advanced media campaigns and close associations with organisations that target children and introduce activities to schools, homes and communities. «