Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Keeping Kids Active

Anyone who's seen kids on a playground knows that most are naturally physically active and love to move around. But what might not be apparent is that climbing to the top of a slide or swinging from the monkey bars can help lead kids to a lifetime of being active.

As they get older, it can be a challenge for kids to get enough daily activity. Reasons include increasing demands of school, a feeling among some kids that they aren't good at sports, a lack of active role models, and busy working families.

And even if kids have the time and the desire to be active, parents may not feel comfortable letting them freely roam the neighborhood as kids once did. So their opportunities might be limited.

Despite these barriers, parents can instill a love of activity and help kids fit it into their everyday routines. Doing so can establish healthy patterns that will last into adulthood.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Inactive kids under five demonstrating dangerous lifestyle habits

According to the 2010 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, Canadian kids five and younger are dangerously physically inactive.
"We are funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and our focus is on creating environments where families can learn about healthy lifestyles, while acknowledging the underlying factors that prevent positive outcomes," said Debby Turner, Community Action for Children program co-ordinator for Kids First in New Glasgow. 
"Poverty is one of these factors.  We offer programs to try to encourage healthy lifestyles for families to make changes based on their capacity."
The Report Card assigns an F for Physical Activity Levels, as only 12 per cent of Canadian children and youth are meeting Canada's physical activity guidelines.
Although international recommendations vary, children between the ages of one and five should participate in at least two hours of physical activity each day, accumulated over many sessions through play, games, active transportation and recreation.
Turner said several programs are offered free at their centre to help overcome some potential barriers.
"Our goal is healthier children through healthier family choices," said the co-ordinator.
The Kids First programs Jump, Jiggle and Jive and Food Mentors promotes a healthier lifestyle, physical activity and healthy eating habits, and GRASP - Guys or Girls Right After School Program - extends education into the middle school, inviting youth to explore healthy lifestyle choices.
"We already know that the early years are a critical period of growth and development, but growing evidence tells us that physical activity must be a fundamental part of the early-life experience," said Dr. Mark Tremblay, chief scientific officer, Active Healthy Kids Canada, and director of Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute - Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group.
"Studies show that children who are obese before six are likely to be obese later in childhood, and it's estimated that overweight two- to five-year-olds are four times as likely to become overweight as adults.
Preschool obesity is on the rise in Canada, yet we do not have physical activity guidelines for children five and under."
The report card gave an F grade for Screen Time for the third year in a row considering 90 per cent of children begin watching TV before their second birthday.