Move to Improve

Move to Improve logo

Move to Improve (M2I) is a new service based at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) that supports children and adolescents with ongoing health conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, cerebral palsy and burns related injuries to increase their participation in physical activity.

By integrating physical activity into clinical care at Perth Children’s Hospital under a research framework, Move to Improve aims to address the barriers faced by children with ongoing health conditions and their families, and provide them with accessible, evidence-based and sustainable opportunities to increase physical activity and improve their health and wellbeing.

Move to Improve has been developed in collaboration by consumers, researchers and health professionals, and will be delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, including exercise physiologists, dietitians, physiotherapists and psychologists who will assist children and adolescents to develop and achieve their own personal physical activity goals.

Initial participants in M2I will be outpatients aged 5-17 living in the Perth metropolitan or Peel regions with:

  • Cancer: Oncology Survivorship (at least 5 years from end of treatment) and ambulant
  • Type 1 diabetes: diagnosed for at least 6 months
  • Burn injuries: at least 6 weeks post-burn injury
  • Cerebral palsy: ambulant (GMFCS I-III).

Participants must also be under the care of a PCH medical team.

Furthering knowledge through research

  • the barriers and facilitators to these children maintaining an active lifestyle
  • the impact of a customised intervention on the children’s level of physical activity; and
  • the effectiveness of M2I on psychosocial and physiological health outcomes of children with an ongoing health condition.

Why is Move to Improve important?

Regular physical activity is essential for children’s growth and functional development. It also promotes physical health, mental health and wellbeing.

Despite the importance of regular physical activity, less than a quarter (23%) of Australian children meet current physical activity guidelines.

We know that it can be especially difficult for children with ongoing health conditions to engage in regular physical activity. Lack of access to appropriate activity providers, low levels of confidence and self-esteem, and fear of managing their health condition in front of peers are just some of the barriers that can hinder participation.

The Move to Improve team will work with children and their families to find ways of overcoming these barriers so that they can begin to move more and enjoy the many health and social benefits that come from maintaining a more physically active lifestyle.

The 8-week programs that children will follow during Move to Improve will be tailored to each participant’s individual abilities and physical activity goals. The programs will also focus on activities that are evidence-based, accessible, sustainable, and fun.

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is any body movement that increases your breathing and heart rates. It can include incidental activity such as taking a flight of stairs or walking to the bus stop, or more structured activity such as exercise and sport.

The importance of regular physical activity

Regular physical activity – whether part of organised community sport or unstructured recreational activity – not only supports healthy growth and development in childhood but increases overall health and wellbeing.

Evidence shows that children who are physically active are likely to be more confident and resilient than their less active peers. They will also likely be better sleepers, better learners and have better social skills.

Referrals

Referrals should be made by a child or adolescent’s primary medical team at Perth Children's Hospital and will remain under the care of their referring team whilst participating in M2I.

If you are interested in the program, please talk to your medical team to discuss the eligibility criteria.

Funding partners

M2I has been made possible through funding from the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation and the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation.  The Child and Adolescent Health Service and Telethon Kids Institute have also committed in-kind support for the project. 

Download our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about M2I.

Contact

P: (08) 6456 1111 (Option 6)

E: movetoimprove@health.wa.gov.au

Last Updated: 14/05/2024