New Study: Canadian kids even less active than we thought

    - Latest research reinforces recommendations in Canada's Report Card on
    Physical Activity for Children and Youth -

    TORONTO, March 1 /CNW/ - According to recent data released by the
Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institutes (CFLRI), the issue of child
and youth physical inactivity in Canada is perhaps an even larger public
health concern than previously believed.
    The Canadian Physical Activity Levels Among Youth (CANPLAY) study by the
CFLRI collected pedometer data on a sample of approximately 6,000 children and
youth ages 5-19, measuring the number of steps kids take in order to assess
their activity levels. This study marks the first time that objective
information has been available on physical activity levels from a national
sample, and the results are disturbing. By examining rates of participation in
organized and unorganized physical activities both in school and outside of
school, the pedometer data found that most children and youth are far below
recommended activity levels.
    Most concerning from these data is the recognition that 91% of Canadian
children and youth are not meeting the guidelines set forth by Canada's
Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth, which state that children
should be accumulating 90 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical
activity in addition to incidental activities required for daily living - or
the equivalent of 16,500 steps.
    "Each time we measure physical activity levels among children and youth
more accurately, we find the problem is worse than we even think it is," said
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chair of Active Healthy Kids Canada. "We need strong
leadership at the provincial, territorial and federal levels in order to have
the necessary impact on this growing issue."
    These striking findings reflect and support the findings of Active
Healthy Kids Canada's annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and
Youth and reinforce the recommendations for action put forward in the release
of the 2006 Report Card. Both clearly demonstrate the need for families to
re-establish and increase unstructured physical activity and play as part of
their daily lifestyle, for schools to establish quality daily health and
physical education classes, and for children to exchange sedentary screen time
with physical activity.
    These findings, along with additional national research data, will be
integrated into the 2007 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and
Youth, which will be released in the Spring.

    CFLRI Pedometer Data Findings
     -  Children who participate in organized physical activity or sport
        outside of school take more steps than children who participate in
        organized activities at school.
     -  Children who participate in sedentary activities (i.e. watching
        television, playing video or computer games), between the hours from
        the end of the school day until dinner time, take fewer daily steps
        than those who do not participate in these sedentary activities.
     -  Children who participate in general outdoor play, organized physical
        activity or unorganized physical activity between the end of school
        and dinner time take more steps per day than children who do not.
     -  Children whose parents report being more active than other adults
        take more steps per day than children whose parents report being less
        active than other adults.

    To download a copy of the CANPLAY results, visit:

    About the Report Card
    Active Healthy Kids Canada has taken the lead in developing an annual
Report Card to provide an ongoing comprehensive measurement of how Canada is
collectively demonstrating its responsibility in providing physical activity
opportunities for children and youth. Both the 2005 and the 2006 Report Cards
gave Canada a "D", and called upon leaders in the public and private sectors
to support families in helping their kids become more physically active. The
third annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth will be
released in the Spring of 2007.

    Active Healthy Kids Canada
    Active Healthy Kids Canada was established as a charitable organization
in 1994 to advocate the importance of physical activity for children and youth
where they live, learn, and play. As a national leader in this area, Active
Healthy Kids Canada provides expertise and direction to decision-makers at all
levels, from policy-makers to parents, in order to increase the attention
given to, investment in, and effective implementation of physical activity
opportunities for all Canadian children and youth.

For further information:

For further information: Shannon Boyd, Active Healthy Kids Canada, (416)

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Active Healthy Kids Canada

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