LETHBRIDGE – Two-thirds of children in Canada aren’t meeting an acceptable level of physical literacy, according to a national research project that included a group from the University of Lethbridge.
Dr. Jennifer Copeland of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education led a group of students who studied 1,300 children in Lethbridge aged 8-12. Similar data collection took place in 10 other cities, led by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity research group at the CHEO Research Institute. More than 10,000 kids participated in all, between 2014 and 2017.
The children who took part were assessed on things like step counts and daily activity questions. The goal was to study all aspects of physical literacy, including motivation, confidence, and understanding. The results were published in 14 articles in a special supplement of the BMC Public Health medical journal.
Senior scientist Dr. Mark Tremblay of CHEO and the University of Ottawa cited results indicating Canadian boys and girls are only in the 30th percentile for aerobic fitness levels, and only one in five meet activity guidelines.
“Physically literate children are more active and healthy children, which sets them up for life,” Tremblay said in a news release. Copeland agreed.
“We know how vitally important physical activity is to health and wellness, across the lifespan. It is important that we understand how to ensure children develop sufficient physical literacy so that they can maintain and enjoy an active lifestyle as they grow up,” she said.
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