New research shows two-thirds of Canadian kids lack physical literacy

According to new research, as much as two-thirds of Canadian elementary children have not developed basic physical literacy.

The research reported by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) reflects data collected from more than 10,000 Canadian children between 2014 and 2017 using the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy (CAPL) testing protocol.

The results demonstrate that more needs to be done to ensure Canadian children are physically literate.

“We hear about increasing obesity rates in kids, falling rates of physical activity and more time spent in front of screens,” said Dr. Mark Tremblay, Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute, Director of HALO and Professor of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa.

“Through this project, we provide comprehensive evidence that Canadian children aged 8 to 12 years are not meeting the standards for components of physical literacy,” said Dr. Tremblay. “For example, boys and girls across Canada have aerobic fitness levels at the 30th percentile of global norms and only 20% are meeting physical activity guidelines.”

Findings from this project have led to further refinements of the CAPL and the release of the second edition of this tool, or CAPL-2.

“Ensuring that we have the right tools for coaches, educators, and parents is an important way to increase physical literacy in Canada,” says Dr. Pat Longmuir, Scientist with the CHEO Research Institute, HALO Research Group, and Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa. “The CAPL-2 is a shorter, easier to administer series of tests that can be used to assess and monitor physical literacy in Canada. The materials are available in both English and French, free of charge at”

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