A nation-wide initiative to promote active lifestyles for children across Canada gave the nation's youth a failing grade this week.
According to Active health Kids Canada, a partnership between various organizations and institutes, only 36 per cent of kids aged two to three engage in unorganized sport and physical activity each week. Only 44 per cent of kids aged four or five were active.
Other statistics were just as damning. Kids start watching television at five months old on average, with 90 per cent watching television before the age of two. The recommended amount of television for kids two and under is none, with just one hour per day for kids aged two to five. Another survey showed that 27 per cent of kids aged two to three and 22 per cent of kids aged four to five are watching more than two hours of television each day.
Obesity rates for kids under six is rising. Roughly 15.2 per cent of kids aged two to five are overweight and 6.3 per cent are considered obese.
Canada-wide, only 12 per cent of kids are meeting national activity guidelines that call for 90 minutes a day of physical activity. B.C. and the Northwest Territories led the country with 15 per cent, while New Brunswick placed last with seven per cent.
Children received F grades for Active Play and Screen Time, with Canadian youth logging six hours of screen time on weekdays and seven hours on the weekend, or 13 hours a week on average. The federal government received an F for funding, which is increasing but still below 1986 levels.
Schoos received a grade of B in terms of Infrastructure and Equipment, but C grades for physical education time (only Manitoba had mandatory physical education for kids up to Grade 12), the availability of school sports and school policy.
Families got lower marks. According to a survey only 27 per cent of parents know what Canada's physical activity guidelines are.
Communities also passed the test with B grades for proximity and accessibility, community programming and safety and maintenance, and D grades for how facilities are used and municipal policies.
The complete report is available online at www.activehealthykids.ca.