VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Kids just aren’t getting enough physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest ParticipACTION Report Card gives children and teens a D+ for Overall Physical Activity, and a D+ for Sedentary Behaviour amid the outbreak.
Leigh Vanderloo with ParticipACTION says that means only about 39 per cent of children and youth in Canada are getting an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day.
“And then, of course, with the introduction of all of the social restrictions and other types of restrictions that were placed because of COVID-19, we saw a drastic decrease in activity levels as well as a pretty decent increase in their screen viewing levels,” Vanderloo explains.
ParticipACTION looked at data made available since 2018, when its last report card was released. The coronavirus-specific data, Vanderloo adds, was taken during the month of April.
Compared with the previous report, Vanderloo says the new data shows this is an “ongoing issue.”
“It is a long journey in terms of seeing improvement,” she admits. “Physical activity pretty much remains the same, and it has been for the last few years. One thing we did note is that sedentary behaviours, specifically around screen viewing, we did see a slight improvement from the last report card.”
This year, ParticipACTION is focusing on families and just how much of a big role the family unit plays in a child’s physical activity.
Vanderloo says with people spending so much more time with loved ones, parents, grandparents, siblings, and others can encourage a child’s activity.
“Just to ensure that we’re supporting and fostering the healthiest children possible,” she adds.
ParticipACTION recommends families get outside to encourage physical activity. Vanderloo says another recommendation is for parents to lead by example.
“Demonstrate yourself being active in front of your kid, be mindful of how much screentime you are engaging in yourself personally, and also co-participate with the children when it comes to getting active,” she explains. “Make it fun, find activities that work for everyone.”
-With files from Monika Gul