Thursday, April 28, 2011

Active Kids ... It's No Coincidence!

Is it more than a coincidence that Active Healthy Kids Canada released the 2011 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth during the same week that Montreal is hosting the Canadian National Obesity Summit? If you grew up before the advent of technology, the thought that you or your children would only be getting 14 minutes of play time after school between 3pm and 6pm would seem simply unbelievable. But it’s shockingly true. The days of kids running around playing ‘kick the can’, pick-up basketball, or staying outside until called in for dinner, are long gone.

The Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive annual assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada. The Report Card was released this week by Active Healthy Kids Canada and its strategic partners, ParticipACTION and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute – Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO).

Among the 23 grades assigned in the Report Card, key grades include:
  • “F” for Active Play
  • “D” for Active Transportation
  • “C-“ for Physical Education
  • “D+” for Family Physical Activity
  • “D-“ for Municipal Policies and Regulations
It is well documented that youth and teenagers who are involved in organized and supervised after-school activity programs are less likely to find themselves toying with the idea of experimenting with risky behaviours such as drugs and alcohol. While the physical benefits of exercise to the human body are obvious, less obvious is the fact that time spent outdoors playing lowers levels of:
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • fatigue
  • sadness
Parents and after-school caregivers play a paramount role in changing the habits of today’s youth and they should not be afraid to encourage children to engage in fun physical activity, and restrict television viewing, computer games and the like.

Contact SIRC for more information on physical activity for children and youth!

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