The Physical Inactivity Of Canadian Children


There is a rising concern that overweight and obesity prevalence are getting to epidemic levels in both developing and developed countries. In Canada, the prevalence of obesity and childhood overweight has risen rapidly. Studies show that between 1981 and 1996, the number of obese children in Canada has risen from 5 to 15 percent. The rate is so high and most studies have attributed it to environmental factors instead of genetic factors. The increase in use of labor-saving devices and access to fast foods has created an environment for obesity.


In Canada, physical inactivity is a major health problem that is considered more serious than cigarette smoking. Studies show that around 26 percent of Canadians are smokers and more than 35 percent are inactive. Around two thirds of the Canadian population are people who are not active enough and they put themselves at risk of life threatening diseases. Due to the increase of the sedentary lifestyle, Canadian youth and children are more at risk of suffering from these diseases. The obesity rates among youth and children has increased in the past twenty five years and that has increased the risk of developing illnesses such as heart diseases, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.


According to a report by the Ministry of Education, the ministry is promoting the participation of all students in daily physical activity. It has asked the school boards to make sure that all students even those with special needs, have a minimum of twenty minutes of vigorous physical activity each day. The physical activities can include walking, dance, sports, aquatic, and recreational activities. The goal is to ensure that all students maintain their physical fitness and their health and also increase their learning opportunities. The ministry requires the school board to monitor the implementation of the new policy on physical activity and ensure all students are active at least twenty minutes daily. The principals are also required to inform parents of their children’s participation in the physical activities.


Inactivity has had serious consequences on people’s health status. School physical education programs are the best way for children and youth to develop skills and a positive attitude toward physical activity. Studies show that the habits children learn in early life are likely to be carried on into adulthood. The same theory applies to health risk factors such as obesity and smoking. It is important to reach out to individuals to make sure they develop positive health habits even from a young age. The health of the country depends on the efforts and solutions to this situation.






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