The 2014 Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children was a remarkable conference. Researchers and practitioners from around the world gathered in Toronto to discuss the latest science, studies, and tools to address the global issue of kids’ inactivity in 4 different tracks: home, school, community and policy. Needless to say, as writers for Active for Life, we were captivated.
Though neither of us have science backgrounds and the content of the conference was data driven, we still managed to learn a few things that will help guide us as we continue to promote physical activity for our own kids and yours.
- Playgrounds are empty around the world, not just in North America. This truly is a global problem.
- There is a big gap between policy and enforcement. An example of this is mandated Daily Physical Activity (DPA) in Ontario. Kids often lose DPA as a punishment, so even though DPA might be mandated in your child’s school, not everyone is getting it.
- A Quebec study confirmed that physical activity in the morning helped kids pay more attention later in the day at school. This confirms the idea that riding or walking to school is a great away to start the day and helps kids focus academically.
- Jason Dunkerley, a medal winning Paralympian runner, who was born with a congenital eye condition causing blindness, played soccer by tying a plastic bag around the ball so he and his brothers, who also were born with the same eye condition, could hear where it was. We think that is totally awesome and love the creative approach to being active.
- Among 0 – 14 year olds 3.7% of the Canadian population has a disability. This number increases as we age. By the time you get to 75 years and up, 56.3% of the population has a disability. Even more of a reason to focus our efforts on getting our children active. Maybe we can bring down the second statistic.
- Youth with a disability are less likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle, more often excluded from recreational and sports activities, and more likely to suffer from the effects of inactivity and poor eating choices.
- There is a new way to measure physical literacy called the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy (CAPL) that you may soon see put to use in your child’s school, on their sports team, or that you might even want to use yourself.
- Physically active play at school develops in the context of positive social relationships. Kids need to be safe and happy (i.e., not bullied) to really benefit from recess.
- Sedentary time is on the increase. Screens are only one aspect of children’s overall sitting time (so just reducing screen time isn’t enough). In fact, much of a child’s sedentary time comes from sitting all day at school. We need to change the school environment to be more physical activity friendly and less sedentary friendly.
- We wish Dr. Mike Evans was our physician.
Did you read about Canada’s dismal score on the 2014 report card on physical activity for children and youth? How do you think Canadians can improve their score? How would you like Active for Life to help you keep your kids active? Let’s get the discussion going so that we don’t have to have the very same one a year from now.