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Is Active Play Extinct?

On May 29th 2012, Active Healthy Kids Canada released the 2012 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Among some of the key grades on the report card, Canadian kids didn’t pass the “active play” domain with flying colors.

Quoting the report card, here are a couple key facts contributing to this lack of active play:

  • Canadian kids spend 63% of their free time, after school and on weekends, being sedentary.
  • Instead of playing outdoors, Canadian kids in Grades 6 to 12 are spending 7 hours and 48 minutes per day in front of screens.
  • Even at school, recess is increasingly being threatened by adult beliefs that this “free time” is better spent in academic study. - Not so true for BC thanks to ActionSchools!BC

Interestingly enough, the report card shows kids actually want to be engaged in active play.

Quoting the report card again:

  • In one global study, playing with friends was the single favourite pastime of kids around the world.
  • 92% of Canadian children said they would choose playing with friends over watching TV.
  • Given the choice, 74% of Canadian kids in Grades 4-6 would choose to do something active after school with 31% choosing to play with their friends at the playground

Hopefully this report card acts as a stimulus for parents and teachers across the nation to facilitate increased active time and decreased sedentary time. Nevertheless, as BC residents we’re lucky as our school systems and preventative health care programs are breaking boundaries and doing an above average job of promoting healthy living for our children, youth, adults, as well as older adults.

Please comment below on ways that you help your kids with active play. Stay tuned for next week's blog as we will be providing some fun and creative strategies to facilitate active play.

References and Resources:
Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Report Card Press Release: Fossilized playgrounds: is active play the next dinosaur? 

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