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2020 Children And Youth Report Card

Family Influence

The 2020 ParticipACTION report card on physical activity for children and youth

Cute Little Infant Baby Crawling On Floor At Home

Family: key to kids’ healthy movement

The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth identifies families as critical influencers in children’s physical activity and healthy habits. Right now, families are physically closer than they have been for generations, as we collectively stay home to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Restricted access to playgrounds, physical school, childcare and playdates means the family’s impact has never been greater, but it’s also more challenging than ever to develop and maintain healthy habits at-home.

Father and little dautgher playing basketball

The COVID-19 effect

As Canadians collectively support public health measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, an unintended consequence has been that our physical activity levels have sustained significant declines. ParticipACTION’s own research shows that this effect has been especially pronounced on children and youth.

Supporting stats

  • Only 4.8% of children (ages 5-11) and 0.8% of youth (ages 12-17) were meeting 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines during COVID-19 restrictions, compared to the 15% (5-17 years) prior to the pandemic.1
  • 62% of kids and teens were being less physically active outdoors.
  • 79% of kids and teens were spending more leisure time on screens.1

The grades are in

  • The ParticipACTION Report Card gives children and youth a D+ for Overall Physical Activity and a D+ for Sedentary Behaviours.
  • Less than 1 in 5 children (5-11 year-olds) and youth (12-17 year-olds) in Canada are meeting national movement behaviour guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep.(2014-15 CHMS,Statistics Canada).
Two happy girls posing

What can we do as families to positively support healthy movement behaviours in our kids?

  • Facilitate physical activity by encouraging, watching, role modelling, co-participating and attending physical activity events, online or in person if possible.
  • Be active as a family and make it a priority – this encourages physical activity, social support, connectedness and attachment, which are all important for good mental health.2

Each additional 20 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a parent is associated with an additional 5 minutes in their child’s daily physical activity.3

Reclaim family time as active time

Families in Canada can be active role models and provide the kind of positive encouragement our kids need. Start by identifying as an active family.

Recommendations: 

  • Be an active role model
  • Prioritize active transportation (e.g., walking, cycling, wheeling)
  • Create a family media plan that includes screen-free times
  • Encourage more outdoor time

The bottom line

Family is a key source of influence on kids’ healthy movement. It’s time to make physical activity a family priority and lead by example. If being active is second nature for adults, it will, in turn, become second nature for our children, too.

Elderly man, young man and a kid playing soccer in the yard

Daily step count among children

Daily step count among children stats

Screen use among children before bed

Screen use among children before bed stats

The 2020 grades are in!

Grade D

Physical Activity

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F grade

Active Play

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Grade D transportation

Active Transportation

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B Grade

Organized Sport

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D+ Grade

Physical Education

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Grade D+

Sedentary Behaviours

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Grade F

24hr Movement Behaviours

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Grade B

Sleep

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Grade D

Physical Fitness

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Grade D+

Physical Literacy

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Grade B

School

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Grade C

Household

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Grade B+

Community & Environment

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Grade B-

Government

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Physical Activity

  • Grade: D+
  • 39% of 5- to 17-year-olds in Canada meet the physical activity recommendation within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada).
  • 41% of 5- to 19-year-olds take at least 12,000 steps daily on average, which approximates the physical activity recommendation within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (2018 CANPLAY, CFLRI).

Active Play

  • Grade: F
  • 21% of 5- to 11-year-olds in Canada spend several hours (> 1.5 hours) a day in unorganized physical activity, according to their parents (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada).
  • Children and youth in grades 6 to 10 in Canada report playing outdoors for 15 minutes per day, on average (2018 HBSC, PHAC).

Active Transportation

  • Grade: D-
  • Based on parent- and self-report data in 5- to 19-year-olds in Canada, 21% typically use active modes of transportation (e.g., walk, bike), 63% use inactive modes (e.g., car, bus) and 16% use a combination of active and inactive modes of transportation to travel to and from school (2014-16 CANPLAY, CFLRI).

Organized Sport

  • Grade: B
  • According to parents, 77% of 5- to 19-year-olds participate in organized physical activities or sports (2014-16 CANPLAY, CFLRI).
  • 66% of students in grades 6 to 10 currently participate in individual and/or team sports, based on self-report data (2018 HBSC, PHAC).

Physical Education

  • Grade: D+
  • 37% of 5- to 11-year-olds in Canada receive at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week during class time at school, according to their parents (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada).
  • 36% of 12- to 17-year-olds in Canada report getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week during class time and free time at school (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada).

Sedentary Behaviours

  • Grade: D+
  • There is considerable variability by dataset and age group in the proportion of children and youth in Canada who meet the screen time recommendation made by the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth:
  • 76% of 5- to 11-year-olds (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada), with more girls than boys in this age group meeting the recommendation (80% vs. 71%) (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada)
  • 28% of 12- to 17-year-olds (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada), with more girls than boys in this age group meeting the recommendation (30% vs. 25%) (2016-17 CHMS, Statistics Canada)

24hr Movement Behaviours

  • Grade: F
  • Less than a fifth of children and youth in Canada meet all three recommendations within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth:
  • 15% of 5- to 17-year-olds (2014-15 CHMS, Statistics Canada)
  • 10% of students in grades 6 to 10 (2018 HBSC, PHAC)

Sleep

  • Grade: B
  • Approximately 70% of school-aged children and youth in Canada meet the sleep recommendation within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: 
  • 74% of 5- to 17-year-olds (2014-15 CHMS, Statistics Canada)
  • 65% of students in grades 6 to 10 (2018 HBSC, PHAC)

Physical Fitness

  • Grade: D
  • 9- to 12-year-olds in Canada are at the 28th percentile, on average, for cardiorespiratory fitness (shuttle run in 20-metre laps)6 based on age- and sex-specific international normative data(2014-17 CAPL, HALO).

Physical Literacy

  • Grade: D+
  • 36% of 8- to 12-year-olds in Canada assessed by the CAPL meet or exceed the minimum level recommended for physical literacy (2014-17 CAPL, HALO)

School

  • Grade: B-
  • 48% of school administrators in Canada report having a fully implemented policy to provide daily physical education to all students (2015 OPASS, CFLRI).
  • 46% of school administrators in Canada report having a fully implemented policy to provide mandated daily physical activity to all students (2015 OPASS, CFLRI).

Household

  • Grade: C
  • 16% of 18- to 39-year-olds and 17% of 40- to 59-year-olds in Canada meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults, which recommend at least 150 minutes of weekly moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). More non-parents are meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults when compared to parents (23% versus 13%) (2016-17 CHMS).
  • Among a representative sample of Canadian parents, 44% and 23% reported providing support for children’s and youths’ light physical activity and MVPA, respectively. 
  • 92% of students in grades 9 to 12 in British Columbia, Alberta, Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec report having parents/step-parents/guardians who support them in being physically active (2016-17 COMPASS, University of Waterloo).

Community & Environment

  • Grade: B+
  • Among municipalities in Canada with at least 1,000 residents, as many as one-third have policies that relate to physical activity (2015 SPAOCC, CFLRI):
  • 35% have formal strategies for physical activity and sport opportunities.
  • 22% have a formal plan regarding active transportation.
  • Between one-quarter and one-third have a policy requiring safe pedestrian and bicycle routes when:
  • developing new areas in their community (38%)
  • reconstructing roads in their community (34%)
  • retrofitting existing communities (25%)
  • 24% have a formal transportation master plan.

Government

  • Grade: B-
  • The 2018 federal budget highlighted the government’s commitment to improving the country’s physical activity levels by pledging to invest $5 million per year for five consecutive years (totalling $25 million) to ParticipACTION.
  • The 2018 federal budget also announced $30 million over three years to support data, research and innovative practices to promote women’s and girls’ participation in sport, and $47.5 million over five years as well as $9.5 million per year ongoing to expand the use of sport for social development in more than 300 Indigenous communities.
  • Almost 70% of federal, provincial and territorial governments report that funds invested in physical activity programming for children and youth has remained the same over the past fiscal years (2019 ParticipACTION).
  • Over 90% of federal, provincial and territorial governments reported modifying or adapting their respective physical activity policies and programs to better align with the Common Vision (2019 ParticipACTION).

Tools & Resources

Full Report

Overall Movement Behaviours Infographic

Sleep Infographic

Fact Sheet

Highlights Report

Physical Activity Infographic

COVID-19 Study

Communications Toolkit

Consensus Statement

Sedentary Behaviour Infographic

Press Release

Presentation

Resources

About the Children and Youth Report Card

Developed by a team of Canadian researchers and stakeholders in the field of adult physical activity and sport, the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth represents a comprehensive synthesis of the literature and related national-level surveys. 

The Reports prompt new research, investments as well as influence programs and policies.

Methodology

Our interdisciplinary research team identifies and assesses Report Card indicators to determine grade assignments based on the best available data, research and key issue areas from the past year, all of which is included in the Full Report. Although no longer factoring into grade assignments, trends over time and disparities related to age, gender, household income, etc., are highlighted where applicable.

General references

References
  1. MOORE SA, FAULKNER G, RHODES RE, BRUSSONI M, CHULAK-BOZZER T, FERGUSON LJ, MITRA R, O’REILLY N, SPENCE JC, VANDERLOO LM, TREMBLAY MS (2020). IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS OUTBREAK ON MOVEMENT AND PLAY BEHAVIOURS OF CANADIAN CHILDREN AND YOUTH:. A NATIONAL SURVEY. MANUSCRIPT SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION.
  2. BLUM RM, RINEHART MANN P. REDUCING THE RISK: CONNECTIONS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF YOUTH. BETHESDA; 2012.. HTTPS://FILES. ERIC.ED.GOV/FULLTEXT/ED412459.PDF.
  3. GARRIGUET D, COLLEY RC, BUSHNIK T. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SEDENTARY BEHAVIOUR AMONG CANADIAN PARENTS AND CHILDREN LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD.. HEALTH REP. 2017; 28(6):3-11.
  4. CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE. BULLETIN 8:. ACHIEVING SUFFICIENT STEPS PER DAY AMONG CANADIAN CHILDREN AND YOUTH. OTTAWA, ON: CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE; 2018.
  5. CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE. PARTICIPATION IN ORGANIZED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SPORT. BULLETIN 2:. KIDS CAN PLAY! BULLETIN SERIES. OTTAWA, ON: CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE.
  6. TREMBLAY MS, LONGMUIR PE, BARNES JD, BELANGER K, ANDERSON KD, BRUNER B, COPELAND JL, DELISLE NYSTRÖM C, GREGG MJ, HALL N, KOLEN AM, LANE KN, LAW B, MACDONALD DJ, MARTIN LJ, SAUNDERS TJ, SHEEHAN D, STONE MR, WOODRUFF SJ. PHYSICAL LITERACY LEVELS OF CANADIAN CHILDREN AGED 8-12 YEARS: DESCRIPTIVE AND NORMATIVE RESULTS FROM THE RBC LEARN TO PLAY-CAPL PROJECT. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH. 2018;18(SUPPL 2):1036.
  7. SMITH JJ, EATHER N, WEAVER RG, RILEY N, BEETS MW, LUBANS DR. BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF MUSCULAR FITNESS IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. SPORTS MED. 2019;49:887-904.
  8. CLARKE J, COLLEY R, JANSSEN I, TREMBLAY MS. ACCELEROMETER-MEASURED MODERATE-TO-VIGOROUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OF CANADIAN ADULTS, 2007 TO 2017. HEALTH REP. 2019;30(8):3-10.
  9. RHODES RE, SPENCE JC, BERRY T, FAULKNER G, LATIMER-CHEUNG AE, O’REILLY N, TREMBLAY MS, VANDERLOO L. PARENTAL SUPPORT OF THE CANADIAN 24-HOUR MOVEMENT GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH: PREVALENCE AND CORRELATES. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH. 2019;19:1385.
  10. CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE. POLICIES FOR SAFE ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION ROUTES IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT. BULLETIN 10: MUNICIPAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BULLETIN SERIES. OTTAWA: CANADIAN FITNESS AND LIFESTYLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE; 2017.
  11. SMITH C, CLARK AF, WILK P, TUCKER P, GILLILAND JA. ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A NATURALLY OCCURRING POPULATION-LEVEL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTERVENTION FOR CHILDREN. PUBLIC HEALTH. 2019;178:62-71.
  12. OLSEN JR, MITCHELL R, MCCRORIE P, ELLAWAY A. CHILDREN’S MOBILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURES IN URBAN LANDSCAPES: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY OF 10–11 YEAR OLD SCOTTISH CHILDREN. SOC SCI MED. 2019;224:11-22.
  13. GOVERNMENT OF CANADA. BUDGET 2018. OTTAWA: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA; 2018. URL:. WWW.BUDGET.GC.CA/2018/DOCS/PLAN/BUDGET-2018-EN.PDF

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