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Canadian kids not making the grade for physical activity targets

A new report finds Canadian kids aren’t making the grade when it comes to reaching physical activity targets.

Canadian children and youth were assigned a D-minus grade for overall physical activity levels.

Mozambique and New Zealand topped the list of fourteen countries in the report with a “B” grade. Canada lagged near the back along with Australia, Ireland and the United States.

“I think we’ve trained ourselves to think of the outdoors as this dangerous place” says Doctor Mark Tremblay, Chief Scientific Officer of Active Healthy Kids Canada. “Dangerous because of traffic or strangers, or weather or the sun, or whatever the case may be, and that’s a very rapid change that has occurred across the last generation.”

Tremblay adds that a mix of activities are needed to help get kids moving and says children are missing out on chances for spontaneous movement like travelling on foot to and from school.

“I think the key thing is that we need to give our kids room to move, both literally and figuratively” says Tremblay. “We need to back off a little bit, and allow them to explore, to make mistakes and to learn, and do that in a creative fashion, in the outdoors with the world’s biggest playground.”

Active Healthy Kids Canada’s annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth found 62 per cent of parents said their five- to 17-year-olds were always driven to and from school. The report also found that Canadian parents say there are available parks, facilities and programs for physical activity, but they aren’t making sure their kids use them.