The 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card

Physical Activity for Children and Youth links brain health with regular physical activity

ParticipACTION released today its 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, which gave Canadian kids a score of D+ for Overall Physical Activity. This grade is particularly alarming considering that this year’s Report Card also highlights important connections between physical activity and kids’ brain health.

Only 35 per cent of 5- to 17-year-olds and 62 per cent of 3- to 4-year-olds are getting the recommended physical activity levels for their age group, the report card found, and may be having an impact on the health of their brains – kids may be less attentive, moody and not meeting their full potential both in and out of the classroom.

“For decades we’ve talked about how physical activity improves heart health, helps maintain healthy body weights, and builds strong bones and muscles in kids,” said Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chief Scientific Officer, ParticipACTION Report Card and Director of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (CHEO-HALO). “This year we wanted to dig deeper into what it does for their most complex organ – their brain. From increased cognitive skills to improved mental health, physical activity has profound impacts on kids’ brain health. Yet, we now know that many Canadian children and youth are missing out on these benefits because of a lack of physical activity. So, for their brains’ sake, it’s time to get kids sitting less and moving more.”

The 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card was released in concert for the first time with an evidence-informed Expert Statement on Physical Activity and Brain Health in Children and Youth. The Expert Statement was developed by a team of pediatric neuroscientists, exercise scientists, clinicians and practitioners. It finds that for better brain health – including cognition, brain function and mental health – all children and youth should be physically active on a regular basis.

“Regular physical activity, even in short bursts, can help kids’ brains on many levels,” said Dr. Tremblay. “Kids who are more active have increased self-esteem and are generally more focused and less stressed compared to their less active peers. For example, students who exercise before a test show stronger brain function than those who don’t. Furthermore, kids with brain-based disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, may experience even greater improvements in learning and thinking as a result of regular physical activity.”

The lowest grades in this year’s Report Card are a D+ for Overall Physical Activity, D for Sedentary Behaviours and F for the 24-Hour Movement Behaviours. Despite common knowledge of the health benefits of kids moving more, turning away from screens, getting off the couch and breaking a sweat, most of them aren’t, but now they have another pressing reason to do so – for their brain health.

“In order to help support the development of strong, healthy brains we need to encourage kids to get enough daily heart-pumping physical activity,” said Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION. “Research shows that active kids perform better in school and are generally happier. We need to be active role models and set kids up to succeed. I understand that modern life can get in the way of making the time to get active, but I encourage all families to try. And, get outdoors more because it is a powerful antidote for kids facing stress.”

Other grades assigned in the Report Card include:

  • “D” for Active Play & Leisure Activities
  • “D-” for Active Transportation
  • “B” for Organized Sport Participation
  • “C-” for Physical Education
  • “B+” for Sleep
  • “D+” for Physical Literacy
  • “D” for Physical Fitness
  • “C+” for Family & Peers
  • “B-” for School
  • “B+” for Community & Environment
  • “C+” for Government

Recommendations on how to increase opportunities for physical activity and improve kids’ brain health, including those with brain-based disabilities, can be found within the Expert Statement.

To download the 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card Highlight Report, including the Expert Statement, or Full Report, please visit ParticipACTION.

The Girls Action Foundation Webinar: Transformative Approaches

The Girls Action Foundation will be hosting a series of webinar presentations on health promotion for girls. The first of two will be held Monday, June 18, 2018, and will work to define, develop curriculum, pilot, and evaluate gender-transformative approaches to health promotion within girls’ programming. The second webinar will be held in the fall so, keep an eye out for an announcement on that. All individuals and groups are invited and, anyone who is interested in girls’ group programming and girls’ health and wellness are encouraged to participate.

Event Details:

Monday, June 18, 2018

1:00PM ETD / 10:00AM PDT / 11:00AM MDT / 12:00PM CDT / 2:00PM ADT / 2:30 NDT

The Girls Action Foundation is committed to building a movement of active, engaged individuals and organizations across Canada. For more information about the Foundation, check out their website here. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Marbella Carlos: marbella@girlsactionfoundation.ca

To register and for complete details on the event, please click here.

2018 CAPHC Awards - Call for Nominations

Deadline for Nominations is July 15th, 2018

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Call for nominations have just opened for CAPHC’s 2018 Awards in Individual Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Patient & Family Leadership (New), and Leadership in Media (New)!

2018 marks the 50th anniversary for CAPHC, and to celebrate, they are launching two new awards to the CAPHC Awards Program. The CAPHC Awards Program has been running since 2005 and has served to recognize leaders and champions within the pediatric healthcare community. The program has developed from a single award in 2005 to FOUR awards in 2018!

The deadline for nominations is July 15th, 2018Please submit via email a completed nomination form and detailed letter of nomination to:

Emily Gruenwoldt, President & CEO, CAPHC
c/o:  José Gauthier
Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres
Email: jgauthier@caphc.org

For more information on award descriptions, nomination packages and everything else, visit the CAPHC Website