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Year: 2008

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 52 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Judy Rymer

Produced By: Bevan Childs, Judy Rymer, Jody Nunn

Language: English

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Fiona Stanley puts forward a powerful argument for the need to protect the future of our kids. A spark ignited in Fiona Stanley, when as a young medical intern, she was unable to improve the health of a young Aboriginal boy because of the environment he lived in. His death set her on a blazing path to champion the lives of our nation’s children. She has dedicated her life to providing us with sophisticated scientific tools for change. Forty years later her news is not good. Fiona, through meticulously collected research, predicts that the next generation will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of the physical and social toxicity of their environment.

"Risking our kids is a 52 minute documentary that has two contents: one is a very articulate Professor Fiona Stanley who has been a lifelong advocate, she would say crusader, for the well-being of young people. The other subject matter is Australia's attitude to young people. The film's argument is that economic success does not by itself create healthy young people. Does Australia care for its youth? Fiona Stanley suggests that their well-being is worse today than it has been in past generations. The film asserts a range of evidence to support this view. Many criteria are listed such as asthma, diet and body mass, exposure to unprecedented levels of chemical additives, mental health, substance abuse, ubiquitous technology and affluenza. She also zeroes in on Aboriginal communities of Western Australia and challenges the viewer with several provocative statements such as "1 in 2 five year olds is not ready for school". Such sporadic sentences that are flashed onto the screen certainly challenge the viewer to look for the evidence base that she herself says is central to being a successful researcher. I am not sure if I was a 5 year old ready for school. Was I therefore in some way developmentally delayed? The viewers will have to judge this documentary for themselves. It certainly provides ample food for thought, and should be seen by any parent and educator interested in contemporary societal well-being." - Dr Michael Kindler, Manager, Curriculum Support, ACT Education & Training Centre for Teaching and Learning.

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