Dad and son hiking

It really is alarming; nearly 31% of Canadian children and youth 5-19 years of age are overweight or obese. And if the trend continues, we’re going to end up with an adult epidemic of obesity. It’s no secret that we have a physical activity deficit in our country. So, emphasizing the importance of physical activity early in life to create habits leading to a healthy lifestyle, is paramount!
Hey mom and dad, can you play a role? You bet you can….

Here are a few ways you can help create an active lifestyle for you children:

1. Mom and dad’s physical activity level is important. Yep, that’s right! There is definitely a correlation between parents who are active and their children engaging in more physical activity. So, keep it up! It’s important for them as well as you!!Mom and young daughter doing yoga
2. Being supportive; whether it’s through driving to arenas, providing the necessary equipment, and/or being there for that big game, supporting and encouraging participation is a huge factor in keeping our children active. There’s nothing better than seeing your child make a great play and turn to you with that huge smile on their face!
3. Create an environment for your child to participate in a wide variety of activities and sports. The evidence is overwhelming; not only is participation in a variety of sports better for overall development (especially for those under the age of 12), it helps create better athletes when they do ultimately specialize in one sport.

In 2016, the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology released an excellent evidence-based overview of physical activity in children; 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth Please click on the link and have a look.

Kid learning football

They are an excellent resource to share with our children.
It can’t be emphasized enough, the importance of regular and varied physical activity in our children’s lives. It positively affects all aspects of their growth and development. As parents, we play a vital role in this period of growth and development. The opportunity is there to instill great habits for life!!!!

Hesketh KR, Goodfellow L, Ekelund U, McMinn AM, Godfrey KM, Inskip HM, Cooper C, Harvey NC, van Sluijs EMF. Activity levels in mothers and their preschool children. Pediatrics. 2014; 133(4): e973-980.
Määtä S, Ray C, Roos E. Associations of parental influence and 10–11-year-old children’s physical activity: Are they mediated by children’s perceived competence and attraction to physical activity? Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2014; 42(1): 45-51.
Roberts KC, Shields M, de Groh M, Aziz A, Gilbert J. (2015) Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents: Results from the 2009 to 2011 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Statistics Canada.
Peirson L, Fitzpatrick-Lewis D, Morrison K, Ciliska D, Kenny M, Ali MU, Raina P. Prevention of overweight and obesity in children and youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association Journal Open. 2015; 3(1): E23-E33.
Schoeppe S, Robl M, Liersch S, Krauth C, Walter U. Mothers and fathers both matter: The positive influence of parental physical activity modeling on children’s leisure-time physical activity. Pediatric Exercise Science. 2016; 28(3): 466-472
Telama R, Yang X, Leskinen E, Kankaanpää A, Hirvensalo M, Tammelin T, Viikari JSA, Raitakari O. Tracking of physical activity from early childhood through youth into adulthood. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2014; 46(5): 955-962.
Yao CA, Rhodes RE. Parental correlates in child and adolescent physical activity: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2015; 12(10): 1-38.