From: the Peak Online
It is the time of year to take stock of lifestyles and make positive changes. While many focus on righting their own course, it is also time to consider the health of children, particularly the amount of physical activity they get each day.
Obese children risk becoming obese adults who face a myriad of serious health conditions and significant discrimination.
According to Active Healthy Kids Canada only five per cent of children aged 12 to 17 in the country are getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day and the problem seems to be getting worse. For the past decade the national non-profit has tracked the issue with its annual report card. The amount of exercise children are getting has been in steady decline, while screen time and sedentary behaviour have risen.
Even those who participate in organized sports may not be getting enough activity. The report suggests that structured sports and PE class at school should be thought of as only two of many activities that contribute toward overall fitness levels.
The report suggests that parents encourage many physical activities throughout a child’s day and consider a mix of opportunities which could include organized sports and active play and transportation.
Active transportation is one area of particular concern which received a failing grade. Though the report suggests it is socially acceptable to have students walk distances of less than 1.6 kilometres to school, fewer than a quarter of Canadian children do so. BC ranks first in the country at 34 per cent, but this could be higher. Half of BC children still use inactive modes of transportation while 13 per cent use a combination of both.
Not all children can walk to school as they may live too far away or face dangers doing so, but that should not preclude them from walking elsewhere, especially with the walking trails Powell River enjoys. Encouraging children to walk or cycle to school or elsewhere could be a big step toward making sure they get enough activity.
There is always a way to help children get the exercise they require and it does not have to cost a lot of money. For those parents who are unable to walk with their children to school, perhaps there is a way to organize with a neighbour who may have more time.
The problem of inactive children is not unconquerable, it simply requires that physical activity be treated as a serious matter.