Chance for football parents to kick goals from the sidelines

A free program to improve the health and wellbeing of “football parents” and the larger southern community is about to kick-off at South Adelaide Football Club with the help of Flinders experts.

The program is part of a pilot movement to build a stronger, happier football club and promote wellness in the south.

The Physical Activity and Nutrition Down South program, known as ‘PANDS’, is being spearheaded by Dr Kathryn Jackson from Flinders University and will run in parallel with the 16-week training season, starting 6 March 2018.

The PANDS initiative is primarily targeted at mums and dads of children who compete in under-16 and under-18 teams and who often watch from the bench during training sessions.

However, all members of the southern community are encouraged to participate.

“We came up with this program to get parents off the sidelines and engaged in fitness, and to build bridges between football families who may have never spoken before, despite being members of the same club and having children in the same team,” says Dr Jackson.

“The PANDS program will involve regular sessions of low to moderate physical activity as well as cooking demonstrations and classes in preparing quick, easy and nutritious family snacks.

“The evidence shows that involving bystanders like mums and dads in communal activities that are fun and relevant can really build social connectedness and improve club culture, which is what The Panthers are all about,” Dr Jackson says.

The nutrition component of the program will be delivered by Flinders’ dietitians in collaboration with South Adelaide Football Club Chef, Dani Smith, and will help participants use fresh, readily available ingredients in new and interesting ways.

“The idea is to equip football parents with a range of new, nutritious recipes and help them have a go at preparing their own healthy, fulfilling snacks for their children to enjoy after training, saving them time, money and stress,” says Dr Jackson.

“The best part is that parents can still watch their children train from the club kitchen, where the cooking sessions will take place.

“Football families, like many other families with growing children, lead busy, commitment-heavy lives, and it’s our hope that PANDS will not only support them to feel healthier and fitter in the short-term, but strengthen their long-term strategies for living and eating well.

“Of course a big part of wellness is social interaction, and the program will provide wonderful opportunities for participants to forge friendships with other members of the South Adelaide Football Club,” Dr Jackson says.

The PANDS program is free to the community and is being delivered by staff and students from the Sport, Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Research Centre at Flinders University in collaboration with the South Adelaide Football Club.

Funding from the City of Onkaparinga via a Community Grant has made the program possible.

Members of the community who sign up for the program can expect to attend two PANDS sessions per week, one of which will be a cooking class every fortnight.

Further information and registration details are available from Nadia Bevan, Research Support Officer for the SHAPE Research Centre at Flinders University, via, or Dr Kathryn Jackson, Course Coordinator in Nutrition at the SHAPE Research Centre via

This program has been approved by the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee.

Photo caption/s: South Adelaide Football Club under-16 player Matthew Roberts with his father Brenton Roberts during a training session. Credit: South Adelaide Football Club Media.

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