Report encourages children to play outside more to combat lack of physical activity

WATCH: A Participaction report shows kids need risky outdoor play that is good for their health. Global’s Shelley Steeves speaks to a mom who fully embraces that idea.

RIVERVIEW, N.B. – Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity according to a new report card by a national health advocacy group.

According to ParticipACTION’s report on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave Canadian kids a “D” grade for overall physical activity.

The report’s chief scientific officer Dr. Mark Tremblay also believes that kids are not spending enough time playing outside unsupervised.

“Parents have convinced themselves and trained themselves or certainly the social note is that if you keep kids indoors then they are safe,” he said.

When in fact he says failing to get enough self-directed outdoor play can lead to long-term health risks.

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“If we bubble wrap ourselves and sit down and don’t move,” he said. “No, we are not going to twist our ankle, we are not going to dislocate our shoulder, we are not even going to scrape out knee.

“But we are going to develop heart disease earlier, probably develop diabetes and have a weaker skeleton and have mental health issues.”

The report also shows that kids who play outside unsupervised actually get more physical activity, as much as 20 per cent more and kids who can run and climb and can play freely learn how to understand their own limits.

“Kids get hurt, we all got hurt, we all fell off of a bike, we all fell out of a tree, we all scraped our knee and we are all okay,” said mother of two, Tina Beers.

“So I think, within reason, those are the type of things that are acceptable for them to determine on their own.”

The Riverview mom is putting her kids’ health ahead of her own fears by letting them play freely outside.

“I think it’s important for them to figure out where their abilities lie and by being able to explore they find out what they can do, what they can’t do.”


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