Square-eyed Vic teens pick tech over sport

Callum Godde

Square-eyed, technology-obsessed Victorian teenagers are turning their backs on sport, with more than nine out of 10 youths failing to exercise for at least an hour a day.

A VicHealth report highlighted 92 per cent of school-age teens weren't getting the bare minimum hour of daily exercise and, at age 15 to 17, were five times more likely to be glued to their television, smartphone, tablet or laptop than be active.

In response, the state health body announced on Monday it would fund a $6 million, three-year program in a bid to reignite dwindling interest.

"Many teenagers have told us that they stopped playing sport because it stopped being fun," VicHealth boss Jerril Rechter said after the organisation surveyed around 6000 teens on their sporting views.

"Other reasons include too much focus on the competition and skill level and teenagers having to juggle other commitments like their academic performance, part-time work and social lives."

The initiative will attempt to break down the perceived hurdles of getting involved with contemporary junior sports programs, opting instead for sessions that focus on participation rather than results.

"We want to see sport programs that are low-cost, social, and less focused on winning and being the best, and more focused on having fun and building skills," Ms Rechter said.

The results came as health experts warned this crop of teens could be the first generation with a lower life-expectancy than their parents

"Low levels of physical activity are a key driver of this change," Ms Rechter added.