ThoughtFullBoard Blog

Is Your Child Active Enough? by Jennifer Averink

In 2015 Participaction,  the national non-profit organization whose mission is to help Canadians sit less and move more, released a report card on physical activity for children and youth.  

This report card revealed some astonishing statistics on Canadian children and their overall physical activity.
Participaction rated Canadian children with a disappointing D- because most children are not meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

What does this mean?

It is recommended that children ages 5 to 17 get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily.    Examples of moderate to vigorous activities include walking quickly, running, skating, soccer, bike riding etc.  Unfortunately only about 9% of Canadian children are achieving this level of activity.
The report revealed a few reasons that these guideline are not being met.
  1. Active transport:  Walking/riding a bike as a mode of transportation is on the decline.  More than 60% of children are driven to/from school, activities and friends’ houses.
  2. Sedentary behaviours: During waking hours the average time 5-17 year old spends being sedentary is 8.5 hours, and only 24% in this age group meet the recommendation for daily screen time, which is less than 2 hours.
  3. Physical literacy:  There is limited data on how much our children understand about physical activity.  The definition of physical literacy is ” the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical ACTIVITIES for life.”  More needs to be done in this area to determine how physical literacy affects children’s activity levels.
  4. Family Influence on Physical ACTIVITY:  Only 13-19% of adults are achieving the Canadian Physical activity guideline of 150 minutes or MVPA per week.  Over 80% of parents are not leading by example.

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