There’s been a dramatic increase in the unhealthy weights of Canadian youth (i.e. 15% in 1978 vs. 29 % in 2007).
Adolescents who’ve been at an unhealthy weight for the majority of their childhood generally have a hard time outgrowing this problem. In many cases they may continue to gain weight with age. This significantly increases their risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer. It can affect their confidence levels, mental health and physical literacy throughout life. What’s going on? Shouldn’t our youngsters be spending hours on end running in and out of the house, building play castles with the furniture, having dance competitions, playing floor hockey tournaments, endlessly biking up and down the street or having makeshift wrestlemania and gymnastic competitions on a daily basis?
Unfortunately today, not only are parents over consumed by electronics and technology, our children are starting to follow suit as they see this as normal behaviour. Meantime, our children’s workloads are increasing as some parents seem to feel that extra curricular education, music and other sedentary activities are going to provide an edge for their child’s university applications. Did you know that physical activity has been significantly correlated to improved cognitive function and school performance in children and youth?
Children who are physically active for 60 minutes a day will:
- Feel happier
- Do better in school
- Improve their self-confidence
- Improve their health
- Improve their fitness
- Grow stronger
- Learn new skills
- Have fun
Why are we allowing our children to be more sedentary? Did you know that our children and youth are spending almost eight hours a day in front of screens and 63% of free time, after school and on weekends, is spent being sedentary?! If these current trends continue, by 2040, up to 70% of adults aged 40 years will be either overweight or obese.
Healthy Families BC and ParticipACTION, are launching the Bring Back Play Campaign: Bring Back Play is a marketing campaign that uses the many benefits that accompany regular physical activity to inspire parents to take action - to embrace the active fun and games they played as a kid and discourage the activities that keep their children on the couch. I encourage you to stay tuned for further campaign developments as it is going to be a FUN one.
So start a discussion below by sharing ways that you bring back play. Let us know what has worked well for you and what hasn’t. Let’s learn from each other and take action together! Contact the Physical Activity Line to speak with an exercise professional for creative ideas on how to bring back play.
Hope this inspires you to take action to promote healthy growth and development for your children through one of the best methods out there: PLAY! At ParticipACTION and Healthy Families BC we say… Dust off the bike helmets and revive hide and seek. Let’s give them sixty minutes a day of the physical activity that kept us happy and healthy when we were kids. Let’s bring back play.