2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

A young boy and his father are cycling together.

MEDIA ADVISORY
June 17, 2020
For immediate release

2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, released today, explores What can we do as families to positively support healthy movement behaviours in our kids?

EDMONTON – Results of the 2020 Report Card gauging physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours levels resulted in an overall grade of D+.

The new ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth confirms that families are critical influencers for children and youth's physical activity. Regardless of what the family dynamic looks like, family members play a crucial role in shaping and influencing all areas of kids’ lives – including their physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours. How we move as a family has a direct impact on our children and youth. Each additional 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity by a parent is associated with an additional 5 minutes in their child’s daily physical activity.

“Given the current stresses associated with COVID-19, we need to be active as families. In addition to multiple health benefits, physical activity provides social support, and connectedness, which are important for good mental health,” says Nora Johnston, Director of the Centre for Active Living. ParticipACTION’s report reinforces the importance of this relationship.

Children and youth receive a “D+” grade for their overall physical activity, but as families spend more time together than ever before due to physical distancing measures, they can play a key role in getting kids back on track. “In Alberta, we are seeing an increase in physical activity within one's communities and also an increase in active transportation. There has been a move toward shared use streets and an increased value of green space, and we hope that these changes to the infrastructure are adopted long term to facilitate active commuting to work and school,” says Brian Torrance, Director of Ever Active Schools.

"The move toward shared use streets could be a piece of this, and we hope that these changes to the infrastructure are adopted long term to facilitate active commuting to work and school,” says Brian Torrance, Director of Ever Active Schools.

Torrance also notes that the ParticipACTION Report Card helps inform return to school strategies that need to include a focus on health and physical education and regular physical activity through recess. “We have impactful organizations in Alberta like Ever Active Schools, SHAPE, and the Be Fit For Life Network that are working to increase physical activity, and organizations like the Centre for Active Living and the Provincial Fitness Unit that support professionals to work with Albertans to get more active. Further, a strong sport and recreation sector that contributes to our physical activity levels” added Torrance.

Research shows families who identify themselves as active are much more likely to have children who also identify as active. That’s why ParticipACTION is encouraging Canadians to take the #ActiveFamilyPledge, a social media challenge that empowers parents to make quality time “active time” and identify as an active family.

To learn more about how families can improve the physical activity of children and youth, read the full report at https://bit.ly/2Zser6r #ChildrenYouthreportcard

The Centre for Active Living (CAL) is a key advocate of physical activity and physical activity expertise, and it is a primary source of research and education on physical activity for practitioners, organizations and decision-makers. CAL is a centre within the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta.

Ever Active Schools is a provincial initiative designed to create and support healthy school communities in Alberta.

The Provincial Fitness Unit, AFLCA excels in the advancement of exercise leadership certification, through accessible, evidence-informed accreditation; meaningful partnerships and community advocacy promoting a high level of professionalism in the fitness industry.

The Be Fit For Life Network is a provincial initiative that works together, alongside many partners to inspire, educate and support Albertans to lead healthy, physically active lifestyles.

SHAPE (Safe Healthy Active People Everywhere) is an Alberta-wide, non-profit organization that promotes active travel throughout Alberta.

The ParticipACTION Report Card on Children and Youth is a biennial report on the activity level of children and youth, conducted by the ParticipACTION.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

  • Nora Johnston, Director, Centre for Active Living, 587-983-0203
  • Brian Torrance, Director, Ever Active Schools, 780-298-2341
  • Katherine MacKeigan, Director, Provincial Fitness Unit, AFLCA [email protected]
  • Lindsay Wright, Provincial Coordinator, Be Fit For Life Network, [email protected]
  • Lesley McEwan, Executive Director, SHAPE, [email protected]