Ottawa-based health advocacy group, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology introduced health guidelines that would target the time children and teenagers spend in passive activities.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's (CSEP) Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Youth are the first, systematic evidence-based sedentary behaviour guidelines in the world. Different organizations in Canada have expressed concern over the overall sedentary behavior patterns.
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research (HALO) at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO RI), said that school distances, bad weather, computers, television and video games, children spend 62 per cent of their time, about 8.6 hours a day, in sedentary activities. This has a direct impact on their health as they begin to suffer from decreased fitness, poor self-esteem, weak academic performance, obesity and increased aggression.
The guidelines make several practical recommendations that include walking or biking to school, taking a pet out for a walk, visiting a friend instead of texting, raking the leaves in the garden and other similar activities. Young people should get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, claim experts.
Schools have taken the initiative to include more physical activities in the routine. One school has offered dance classes and another has bought gym equipment. The health benefits behind being more active are improved self-confidence, better grades, improved fitness, and a healthy body weight.
Much thought has gone into the guidelines to get Canada moving.