Life. Be in it.
The program began in 1975 with the Victorian state government, the brainchild of Brian Dixon, former Australian rules footballer and then Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation. One of their early programs was to bring over Pat Farrington, a co-founder of the New Games, suppling her with five vans and 25 volunteers to drive around rural townships in Victoria, teaching people how to play games (New Games Book: p22)
In 1977 the federal government expanded the program nationally. Federal funding ended in 1981, redirected towards elite programs. Life Be In It continued for a time working with other groups like the National Heart Foundation of Australia, before going into hibernation.
In 2000, the program was revived, with new government funding, as a strategy against obesity. Australia's national adult obesity rate at that time was reckoned as second only to the USA. The campaign also aired in the United States on local television stations during the 1970s and 1980s.
The television advertisements for the program are cartoons featuring people doing a wide range of activities, with a catchy tune "Be in it today, live more of your life". The main character is Norm, a middle aged man with a prominent beer belly, meant to represent a "normal" Australian bloke. The idea for Norm and the advertising came from Phillip Adams and Alex Stitt; Stitt drew all the cartoons.
The campaign was an enormous success in terms of recognition, by 1979 about 83% and by 1982 about 94%. Recognition remains high at 85%. 'Life. Be in it.' continues to be active throughout Australia and continues to involve Australians in activities in every State and Territory. Programs include Life Games, Corporate Cup, Walking activities etc. and in South Australia and Victoria, the 'Life. Be in it' Sport for All Centres provide indoor social sporting competitions for children and adults.
- A brief history of Life. Be in it., at lifebeinit.org
- Active Australia?, ABC Ratio National, 5 May 2000, transcript reproduced at lifebeinit.org
- Life. Be in it. Character Norm is to reappear, Perth radio 6PR interview, 7 November 2000, transcript reproduced at lifebeinit.org
- Life. Be in it. Silver Anniversary and Relaunch, 22 November 2000, at lifebeinit.org
- 'Life. Be in it' Sport for All Centres home page of sa.lifebeinitsports.org