Children Should Do As Their Parents Say, Not As They Do

    OTTAWA, April 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association, the
Canadian Paediatric Society, and The College of Family Physicians of Canada
released a survey today by Ipsos Reid that asked parents and children to rate
the health of their family's lifestyle. It found some significant differences
in perception that could explain the growing trend toward child obesity in
    "Last August when we surveyed parents on their children's weight, we
found that they appeared to be looking at the problem of obesity through
rose-coloured glasses," said Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, Chair of the Child Health
Initiative (CHI) Steering Committee. "Now we see that not only are parents not
always aware of factors contributing to their children's health, sometimes
they are not the best role models either."

    In the survey, it was found that:

    - 57% of parents watch 2 hours or more of TV a night; that rose to 66%
      when children were asked if their parents watch 2 hrs or more TV a
    - 48% of parents say they spend two or more hours a night on the
      internet; that rose to 57% when children were asked if their parents
      spend two or more hours a night on the internet;
    - 60% of parents say they participate in a common family physical
      activity with their children at least once a week however, only 27% of
      children agree.

    In addition, when looking at parents' healthy lifestyle, it was found

    - Only 28% of parents say they eat the recommended daily servings of
      fruits and vegetables;
    - Only 17% of parents are getting 9 hours of sleep or more per night;
    - 26% of parents say they sometimes smoke, while 44% of children say
      their parents sometimes smoke cigarettes.

    The survey also found that parents have a better opinion of their
children's health habits than their children do. It found that:

    - 89% of parents say their children eat breakfast every day; however only
      72% of children say they do;
    - 65% of parents say their children eat the recommended servings of fruit
      or vegetables a day; however only 26% of children agree;
    - 80% of parents say their children get at least 9 hours of sleep a day;
      however only 63% of children say they do.

    "As a father of three sons, these poll results remind me of the important
role parents play in helping shape their children's future life habits, said
Dr. Tom Bailey, President of The College of Family Physicians of Canada. "And
as a family doctor, I recognize the important role health care professionals
need to play to work more effectively with families on improving the health of
children and parents."
    In addition to the role of parents, the survey also found some troubling
results when it came to asking children about their own health. The survey

    - 70% of children say they sometimes or often feel anxious or stress due
      to peer pressure/intimidation
    - 63% of children say they spent 2 hours or more a night watching TV and
      42% say they spend 2 hours or more a night on the internet.
    - 11% of children say they sometimes drink alcohol, while 6% say they
      sometimes smoke. Interestingly, a similar number of parents agree.

    The good news is that while almost all parents feel that they are most
responsible for ensuring that Canadian children are healthy (93%), youth
divide responsibility between themselves (43%) and their parents (53%).
    "These results also show that Canada's children and youth realize that
they have to take responsibility for their own choices in order to lead
healthy lives," said Dr. Robert Issenman, President of the CPS. "We need to
find ways to give children and youth a voice in making lifestyle choices and
provide them with the resources and education they need to make healthy
    The results of this survey and of consultation held with children in
regard to their health will be considered later today at the Child Health
Summit. The goal of the Child Health Summit is to raise awareness of child
health issue and develop an action plan to improve the health status of
Canadian children.
    Ipsos-Reid conducted this survey between March 30th and April 8th. They
interviewed 1,107 Canadian parents of children under 18 and 631 children
between the ages of 10 and 17. The results are considered accurate to within
+/-2.95 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    The Survey can be accessed at or

For further information:

For further information: Steve Wharry, The Canadian Medical Association,
(613) 731-8610 x2135, Cell. (613) 298-4669; Jayne Johnston, The College of
Family Physicians of Canada, (905) 629-0900 x303; Olivia Craft, The Canadian
Paediatric Society, (613) 850-4868

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