Active Healthy Kids Canada, a national charitable organization that aims to engage all children and youth in physical activity, released its annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth at the end of May. The results aren’t good.
Of the 17 grades assigned in the report card, the most alarming include:
- C for family physical activity
- D for active transportation
- F for sedentary behaviour
- D-minus for overall physical activity levels
When kids come home with poor grades, parents come up with a plan to help their child improve. That should be true here, too.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can address these issues and help your children to lead more active lives.
Family physical activity
Does your family engage in physical activity together? How often? If not, why not? With the days growing longer and warmer, now is a great time to fire up some outdoor family fun. You can get the family playing pickup soccer, go to the park for scrub baseball, or suggest a family hike. Another way you can help is by tracking your child’s activity with Active for Life’s handy, printable log.
Active transportation includes walking, biking, wheeling, in-line skating, or skateboarding to and from destinations. According to the report card, “58 per cent of parents walked to school when they were kids, only 28 per cent of their children walk to school today. In addition to this generational shift, 62 per cent of Canadian youth, aged five to 17, use only inactive modes of transportation to get to and from school.”
If your kids get to school by car, you can easily improve this grade. Get them walking or biking to school. Learn the safe routes to the school together and talk to other parents in the area about having your kids travel as a group. The added bonus here is that exercise before school improves attentiveness in class.
You have a profound impact on how sedentary your child is, so helping them lead more active lives starts with you. If screen time is an issue for your child, consider these screen time solutions for every age.
And remember that one of the most influential things you can do – and this is good for you as well as your child – is be an active role model.