The 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth has just been released! It is the most comprehensive assessment of the current state of physical activity for children and youth in Canada. For the first time, the Report Card takes a stand on play in nature and the outdoors – with its risks – and includes a Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play developed by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (HALO-CHEO), ParticipACTION and a group of 12 other organizations.
The Report Card gives a D- for Overall Physical Activity Levels, as only nine per cent of 5-17 year-olds get 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity each day. It reveals kids move more and sit less when they play outside and have some freedom to roam unsupervised and take risks. Canadian kids aged nine to 17 who play outside after school get 20 more minutes of heart-pumping activity per day, and are three times more likely to meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. It was also discovered that Grade 5 and 6 students who are often or always allowed to go out and explore unsupervised get 20 per cent more heart-pumping activity than those who are always supervised.
Risky outdoor play is not about courting danger – it’s about play that is thrilling and exciting, such as climbing high, exploring the woods and rough-housing, where kids independently test their abilities and limits.
The Report Card is available at the ParticipACTION website.