Health Promoting Gymnastics Clubs Program In Wollongong, New South Wales (NSW)

"Background: There has been increasing interest in the potential to create health promoting sports clubs. The Health Promoting Gymnastics Clubs program sought to involve Gymnastics NSW and gymnastics clubs in planning and implementing health promotion activities within their organisations. Methods: Gymnastics clubs (n=5) were supported by Gymnastics NSW to select a health topic and create and implement an action plan based on the club's unique context and resources. At conclusion of the pilot, a stakeholder from each club was interviewed to explore the success of the program. Findings: Activities implemented by clubs included supplying fresh fruit, removing unhealthy food rewards, conducting coach training to support gymnasts' mental and social wellbeing, and displaying health promotion materials at the club and on social media. The most successful activities were low cost and required minimal time to organise and implement. Clubs were unlikely to take action without close support from Gymnastics NSW. Conclusion: This pilot program demonstrated that gymnastics clubs were able to create health promoting environments with support from their State Sporting Organisation; however clubs remained focused on day-to-day operation, demonstrating that health promotion was not yet institutionalised in these settings. Key words: Community development/engagement, Capacity building, Health promotion, Leadership Key messages: 1. Gymnastics organisations were able to promote healthy eating and positive mental wellbeing. 2. Club action was more likely with regular support from Gymnastics NSW. 3. Clubs preferred health promotion resources to be provided to them, rather than seeking or creating their own."

Amy Carrad

University of Wollongong

Amy Carrad is a PhD candidate from the School of Health & Society, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. She completed a Bachelor of Public Health (Honours) in 2013. Her PhD research is exploring the feasibility of using organisational development and capacity building strategies to facilitate cultural change in gymnastics clubs and Gymnastics NSW. The ultimate goal of this culture change is to shift sports settings to be supportive of holistic wellbeing by stepping away from the historically strong focus on athlete skill development. This process will provide clubs with the skills to become health promoting environments in relation to a range of health areas such as social inclusion, mental health, healthy eating, injury prevention, and sponsorship, so that they may encourage individual behaviours that will sustain health and wellbeing throughout life.