May 30, 2014 3:29 pm

N.B. children among least active in country

NB children are among the least active in Canada, and it could impact their life expectancy.

Steve Fiander/Global News

MONCTON – New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country and research shows they’re also among the least active in the world.

For the first time in history, statistics show today’s youth likely won’t live as long as their parents. Something parent Tabatha Smith can’t believe.

“It’s scary. I think it’s really scary. But I think it’s up to us to keep them more active and be outside and let them run around freely,” she said.

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Despite community efforts, kids are not as involved in open play activities. Moncton’s YMCA says their own numbers prove that.

“We decided to give out over 1,400 free memberships to grade five students in the Greater Moncton Area and to date we only received about 170 that actually took us up on the offer,” said CEO Zane Korytko.

Korytko says the results were disheartening, but not surprising. Canadian children recently scored a D- on the Active Healthy Kids Canada report card.

Canadian kids spend twice as much time in front of a screen as they do engaged in physical activity.  In New Brunswick, 36 per cent of kids from kindergarten to grade five are overweight.

According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, it’s shortening their lives. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and contributes to diabetes and high blood pressure.

So Zane says he’s not giving up on encouraging kids to move more.

“Sunday is healthy kids day so we basically open our doors wide for anybody and everybody who wants to come in and try it out,” he said.

But Smith believes the real solution lies closer to home.

“If they see the parents being active with them and being out at the parks I think that it will be a lifestyle for them and they’ll to love that and love being outside in nature.”

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