We know that physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are linked to many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Yet despite the health risks, levels of physical activity (PA) among children and youth remain low. In fact, Canadian children received a “D-” on this year’s ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, as only 4 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys accumulated 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least six days a week. This report card essentially shows no change in PA levels in comparison to the previous year. So what can be done?
The school environment is an ideal setting to deliver strategic programs to increase physical activity and to reduce sedentary behaviour. Comprehensive and sustainable interventions, such as classroom activity breaks and active transportation, may bring the greatest benefits in the long term.
But which programs and interventions are the most cost-effective? And how can we best leverage the education system to make in-roads when sedentary behaviour an inactivity levels have remained unchanged for so long?