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How many steps do kids get on an average school day?

Click to play video: 'Is your child getting 10,000 “steps” a day? Researchers say they should reach even more' Is your child getting 10,000 “steps” a day? Researchers say they should reach even more
WATCH ABOVE: Adults across Canada are strapping on step counters in an attempt to reach that magic benchmark of 10,000 steps a day. But some researchers say when it comes to children, 10,000 steps isn't enough: they should be aiming for 12,000. Laurel Gregory looks into how the average child measures up – May 24, 2016

I’ve never been one for fitness gadgets. For me, there are few things more freeing than running on the trails with no regard for pace, distance or calories burned.

But these days, it feels like I’m the only one running (or even waltzing around the office!) without some kind of step counter.

Co-workers show up to work meetings with big bands on their wrists, peeking down occasionally to check their progress. They even keep tabs on each other, jabbing those who are further from the magic benchmark of 10,000 steps each day.

Our online producer Caley Ramsay, a Fitbit aficionado, tells me unless she squeezes in a workout, it’s next to impossible to reach 10,000 steps. The tally on a busy work day would be somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 steps.

Kids need even more than 10,000 steps, according to researchers with the CHEO Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group. In the past, they’ve proposed 12,000 steps as a suitable way to measure whether a child has gotten 60 minutes of heart-pumping, moderate-to-vigorous activity in a day.

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If adults have a hard time reaching 10,000 steps in a work day, we wondered how kids would do? Statistics show less than one in 10 kids between five and 17 years old meet the target.

“After school to dinner, where traditionally kids would be outside playing…we’ve seen that decline over time and we think it’s really being replaced with screens where children are indoors on their screens versus being outdoors and being active,” Val Carson, an assistant professor from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says. Carson adds that fewer kids are walking or biking to school.

If after-school is crowded with screen-time, dinnertime and homework, we wanted to track kids’ progress during school hours. We rounded up Fitbits and recruited three typical students – aged six, 10 and 16. At the beginning of the school day, we strapped the counter to each of their wrists and followed them until the final bell.

Take a look at the video above to follow along and see the final results.

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