(Originally posted in 2016. Since nothing’s changed, reupping it with 2018 data)
We suck at helping our kids to be active.
Here are the past 14 years of ParticipACTION kids’ activity report card grades (click on 2018 for this year’s edition):
2017: Didn’t happen
So what has Canada done about it?
From my vantage point, it sure doesn’t seem like much.
As to what we could we doing, I’m honestly not sure.
One thing I am sure of though, simply telling kids to be more active (or telling them and/or their parents how inactive they are) clearly isn’t doing a whole heckuva lot. We need changes that change the default.
If you’re a parent, I’ve blogged about the simple solution you could employ to help your kids move more (move with them).
If you’re an educator, how about making every classroom/student reward an active one instead of relying on junk food (same goes for all of your various fundraising endeavours)? Oh, and get rid of inane over-protective schoolyard rules like bans on hard balls that effectively stifle active play.
If you’re a city planner, how about more time and attention paid to developing safe, comprehensive, and unified biking and walking infrastructure?
And consider too the fact that decreasing kids’ physical activity may well also be influenced by their rising weights (and not the other way around). I’ve worked with so many parents who report that as their kids gained weight, suddenly their interest in favourite activities waned. The why is something people either forget or overlook. Kids are cruel. Being picked last because you’re slow, or simply not being able to keep up, would make most kids not want to play. One comment about “jiggling” while a kid runs is liable to lead a kid to stop running. Not wanting to change in front of your peers because of fat jokes and weight bias makes is another common hurdle. Here we need to see calls to action to tackle weight bias, and continued work towards improving the way we use food with our children, and ideally ending the regular use of foods by our kids’ schools, teachers, coaches, cities, scout leaders, friends’ parents, etc. to reward, pacify, and entertain them at every turn.
So how many more years of reading these depressing report cards before we either stop issuing them, or actually do something about the problem?