Last week, a report came out that was déjà vu all over again’once more, say researchers, Canadian children are failing when it comes to physical activity.
In this particular study, a focus was put on the 3 to 6 pm time slot, after school but before dinner, a time that many of us remember from our childhoods as fun and active but which is now, for many children, spent almost entirely indoors’over 70 percent of respondents said their children were either watching TV or playing video games during the three-hour window.
Times have certainly changed, and kids don’t have the freedom to roam unsupervised they once did, due to a combination (I believe) of reasonable safety concerns and modern paranoia. And the reality of family budget constraints and often two parents working means that shuttling children to organized activities can be challenging.
But as a society, we need to step up and acknowledge that this is a big problem. Out-of-shape kids turn into out-of-shape adults, and low levels of physical activity have been implicated in a huge number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, many cancers, diabetes and even just low day-to-day energy. Childhood is where we acquire lasting habits, and teaching kids to enjoy being active is a chance to reduce rising health-care costs down the line. Plus, active kids are healthier now, both mentally and physically.
I’m not a parent, though I can certainly sympathize with the challenge of competing with video games for kids’ attention. So tell us: What can we all do to help solve this problem? Is the government doing enough? Should it be up to schools, or individual parents? Where should we be focusing our attention?