Appendix C: The Chief Public Health Officer's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2009 – Family guide to physical activity for children

Appendix C: Family Guide to Physical Activity for Children

Call to action for families, educators, physicians and community leadersfootnote 489

Canada's Guidelines for Increasing Physical Activity in Children

  1. Increase the time currently spent on physical activity starting with 30 minutes more per day.
  2. Reduce “non-active” time spent on TV, video, computer games and surfing the Internet, starting with 30 minutes less per day.

You need to encourage children to build up their physical activity throughout the day. The 30 minutes more of physical activity can be accumulated in bouts as short as 5 or 10 minutes.

This increase in physical activity should include:

  • Moderate activities like brisk walking, skating, biking, swimming and playing outdoors
  • Vigorous activities like running and soccer

Here's how it works!

Build up physical activity throughout the day in periods of at least 5 to 10 minutes
  Daily increase in moderate physical activity (Minutes) Daily increase in vigorous physical activity (Minutes) Total daily increase in physical activity (Minutes) Daily decrease in non-active time (Minutes)
Month 1 at least 20 + 10 = 30 30
Month 2 at least 30 + 15 = 45 45
Month 3 at least 40 + 20 = 60 60
Month 4 at least 50 + 25 = 75 75
Month 5 at least 60 + 30 = 90 90

Congratulations! Daily active time is part of a healthy lifestyle.

Note: Children who are already quite active should record all their moderate and vigorous activities for a few days. They can total up the minutes, then progress gradually from there until they reach at least 90 minutes of daily physical activity.

The Goal

Increase children's physical activity every month until they are doing at least 90 minutes more per day. Congratulate them every step of the way. Put a progress chart such as the Physical Activity Chart on the refrigerator or your bulletin board! Talk about the goals and accomplishments during family time or when doing other activities with the children.

You can do it! Make physical activity a lifestyle choice for the whole family and build it into the daily routine.

This Guide is an excerpt only. For a copy of the full guide, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

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