Are Canadian kids too tired to move?
The report urges Canadians to create policies, strategies, and facilities and re-establish year-round outdoor play, transportation, recreation and sport as norms.
ParticipACTION. Are Canadian kids too tired to move? The 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Toronto: ParticipACTION, 2016.
The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada. The Report Card synthesizes data from multiple sources, including the best available peer- reviewed research, to assign evidence-informed grades across 12 indicators. Over the years, the Report Card has been replicated in numerous cities, provinces and countries, where it has served as a blueprint for collecting and sharing knowledge about the physical activity of young people around the world. This Report Card includes new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep – the first of their kind in the world – and, for the first time, assigns a Sleep grade.
Emerging research highlights the importance of physical activity for healthy brain development, which can lead to improved learning and academic outcomes. For example, researchers have shown that children who are physically active for as little as 20 minutes daily have more active brains, better standardized test scores, and improved attention in the classroom. Additionally, grades 2 and 3 students who participated in math and spelling lessons that involved physical activity for two years made greater gains in mathematics and spelling compared to their peers who did not participate in physically active academic lessons. Preliminary evidence also suggests that physical activity may benefit cognitive development in early childhood (birth to 5 years of age). As well, researchers are beginning to recognize that excessive sedentary time negatively influences brain health and may even counteract the benefits of activity. Preliminary evidence from a recent systematic review suggests that reading is beneficial to cognitive development in early childhood (birth to 5 years of age), while screen time is not beneficial and may even be detrimental. These findings stress the importance of sufficient physical activity and limited sedentary time for healthy brain development.
On the other hand, only 9% of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day. Only 24% of 5- to 17-year-olds meet the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommendation of no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day. In recent decades, children’s sleep duration has decreased by about 30 to 60 minutes. Every hour kids spend in sedentary activities delays their bedtime by 3 minutes. And the average 5- to 17-year-old Canadian spends 8.5 hours being sedentary each day at least some of the time. 33% of Canadian children aged 5 to 13, and 45% of youth aged 14 to 17, have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least some of the time. 36% of 14- to 17-year-olds find it difficult to stay awake during the day at least sometimes. 31% of school-aged kids and 26% of adolescents in Canada are sleep-deprived.