This report compares, for the first time, the grades from the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, to grades from 37 other countries across six continents. The consolidated findings show Canada has above-globalaverage grades in physical activity infrastructure and programs, yet is trailing at the back of the pack in grades that measure physical activity and sedentary behaviour. The comparisons also reveal kids move the most in countries where being active is a priority or is an integral part of their everyday lifestyle.
“Urbanization, mechanization and an increased use of motorized transport have reduced physical activity levels globally,” said Tremblay. “Canada must resist the decline in habitual movement fueled by these trends – and not just by creating policies, strategies, facilities and bike lanes, but also by encouraging and re-establishing Canadian cultural norms where being physically active year round, through outdoor play, transportation, recreation and sport, are the Canadian standard, not the exception. ”
“Countries with the most active children and youth overall, including Slovenia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, rely on very different approaches to get kids to move more,” adds Tremblay. “But, what is consistent between all of them is that physical activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms – being active is not just a choice, but a way of life.”