TORONTO – It’s no secret that children in North America are fairly inactive.
But according to ParticipAction’s annual report card, Canada and 25 other countries have earned a D-minus grade.
It’s recommended that kids be active for at least an hour per day, but only nine per cent of Canadian children between the ages of 5 and 17 hit that mark.
“Parents are so busy, they’re driving their kids to and from school even if the school is just two or three blocks away,” explains Michelle Johnson, coordinator of Fit Kids, Healthy Kids. “They’re losing all that activity, that active transport, that kids used to get more often.”
One excuse often turned to in Canada is that of winter, but Johnson isn’t buying it.
“I think sometimes we as adults are like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so cold. I don’t want to go outside.’ If you recall when you were a child, you were walking through this blizzard-desert and having so much fun, not even caring that it was cold outside. You have to get out there and play with your kids outdoors, keep yourself moving, in order for them to get out as well.”
The gold standard is Slovenia, where over three-quarters of kids hit that magic 60 minute mark.
“It’s just different because we have so many options with television and video games that so many kids in lower-income countries don’t have. Kids in other countries are outside playing soccer because maybe a ball is all that they have.”
Johnson notes that a lot of kids are busy with so many after-school activities that they don’t have time to just go outside and play.