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Canada’s Bubble-Wrapped Kids Need More Free Play

sharma-obesity-active-healthy-kidsNo doubt Canadian parents think physical activity and sports is of utmost importance for their kids’ health – this is why, they have apparently sold them off to the multi-billion dollar sport and fitness industrial complex that has pretty much commercialized all aspects of physical activity.

This is why good ol’ get out doors and play (without your parents hand holding you, peering over your shoulder or tracking your whereabouts on GPS) is pretty much dead.

At least this is the gist of the latest Physical Activity Report Card presented by Active Healthy Kids Canada.

Here are some of the main findings:

Canadian parents look to structured activities and schools to get their kids moving:

– 82% of parents agree that the education system should place more importance on providing quality PE.

–  79% of parents contribute financially to their kids’ physical activities (through equipment, fees, etc.), but only 37% of parents often play actively with their children.

Organized sports and plenty of places and spaces for activity may never make up for lost (active) time:

– One study shows only 24% of kids got a full 60 minutes of moderate/ vigorous activity in one session of soccer, and only 2% got this at softball practice.

– Kids on hockey teams spend close to half of the time during practices in moderate/vigorous activity, but in an actual game they are sedentary nearly a third of the time.

So if you think you are doing your kids a favour by putting them in organiszed sporting activities, that break both your time and money budget, then think again.

Your kids may be way better off if you just kicked them outdoors (not to be seen again till the lights come on).

Barcelona, ES


  1. This is such a good article. I have faced a lot of pressure to put my 4 year old in soccer (like every one else does in our community it seems). Instead I prefer to go home and send her out to play (sometimes with me, sometimes alone) until suppertime. nice to know this is backed up by evidence!

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  2. Hi Dr. Sharma,

    You know you’re an old fogy when….. *the good old days* bring to mind see-saws, jungle gyms, 25 cent kites, clamp-on-your-shoes roller skates—and your first bike with high-rise handle bars and a banana seat (plus a best friend riding double, taking turns pumping the pedals, speeding to wherever your mood took you, then staying out until dark raising h-e-double toothpicks….like, say, shooting pea gravel at a stop sign with your sling-shot).

    And if you happened to get fat at some point, well, eventually the miracle of modern medicine will lend a hand….or a paw? 😉

    Now THAT would have been fodder for a “Twilight Zone” episode….in the *good old days…* 🙂

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