Launch of a ‘Pre-Exercise Screening System for Young People’ for the health and fitness industry

May 6, 2021

In collaboration with Sports Medicine Australia and Fitness Australia, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is today pleased to announce the launch of the newly developed Pre-Exercise Screening System for Young People (PSS-YP) which includes updated Screening Tools for both parents and young people, as well as a User Guide.

This pre-exercise screening system aims to help identify young people – aged 5 to 17 – who may have medical conditions which put them at a higher risk of an adverse event during physical activity/exercise. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help exercise leaders or providers determine if there are any potential immediate risks to participation which should be considered prior to an individual commencing physical activity/exercise.

“The PSS-YP is an important tool for the entire industry and benefits not only the professionals but also the Australians who visit a health and fitness professional for the first time. The development of this new tool has provided a great opportunity for all three organisations to collaborate,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

In 2019, the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System (APSS) was updated, acknowledging the need to adopt a global approach to pre-exercise screening. From there, the need to develop a similar screening system specific to children and young adults became the new focus.

“Although the benefits of exercise outweigh the potential injuries and risks, it is important to identify and manage harmful events during exercise for young people. A pre-exercise screening system designed specifically for young people and advocated within the industry did not previously exist, and adult tools do not adequately assess the distinct potential risks for children/young people,” explained Dr Bonnie Furzer, Chair of the PSS-YP Working Group.

As parents/guardians, communities, schools, and government continue to encourage the importance of children engaging in physical activity to benefit their physical and mental health, the Pre-Exercise Screening System for Young Adults provides an evidence-based system for identifying and managing health risks for exercise in our younger population. An associated piece of research to evaluate feasibility titled ‘Evaluating the feasibility of a Pre-Exercise Screening System for Young People’ is planned to be published this year.

“The PSS-YP fills an important gap in making sure that teenagers and children can safely start an exercise program. Everybody needs to exercise regularly and this tool, which is easy to use and very comprehensive, fits well with Sports Medicine Australia’s philosophy and ethos. I highly recommend using this tool,” said Dr Robert Reid, Sport & Exercise Physician and Member of Sport Medicine Australia’s Community Sport Medical Advisory Working Group.

“This new pre-exercise screening system for young people minimises the risk of injuries associated with participating in exercise and physical activity. As the younger generation becomes more active in fitness facilities and outdoor exercise programs, this will be a vital tool for businesses, exercise professionals and consumers. It will play an important role in delivering high quality, safe, and age-relevant exercise programs while simultaneously raising the credibility of the fitness industry,” adds Barrie Elvish, CEO Fitness Australia.

To access the Pre-Exercise Screening System for Young People, including both the Parent and Young Person Screening Tools, as well as the User Guide, please visit the ESSA website.