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Canada gets a


Active kids are going the way of the dinosaur. What can be done to reverse the trend? By Kacey Neely

According to the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth for 2008, for the fourth year in a row, Canada’s overall grade is a D. What does this failing grade mean? It means insufficient physical activity opportunities and programs are available to the majority of Canadians and the health of our children and youth is at risk. Currently, 90 per cent of the country’s youth are not meeting the guidelines set forth in Canada’s Guide for Physical Activity. These levels need to increase, along with the number of programs providing kids with the opportunity to be physically active. Several indicators are used to evaluate current physical activ-

90 per cent of the country’s youth are not meeting the guidelines set forth in Canada’s Guide for Physical Activity. ity levels in Canada including the role of societal influences that can facilitate or inhibit physical activity: family, school, community, and government. These indicators are made up of different components, each with their own grade level. Despite getting a few B’s, there are many more C’s, D’s and even F’s spilled across the report card, resulting in an overall grade of D. Of particular concern to Canada Basketball is the D for program and facility use and the C for participation rates in organized sport across Canada. What is alarming is that parents reported just 23 perc ent are actually using the programs available to them in their communities. Once again it appears that there is a lack of accessible programs and available opportunities for kids to be active. Steve Nash Youth Basketball (SNYB) is working hard to change these disheartening grades and make an improvement in physical activity levels in children and youth across Canada. A major goal of Canada’s Report Card is to engage Canada’s youth to participate in physical activity by creating a supportive environment and to ensure that Canada’s Guidelines for Physical Activity are met through motivating, socially stimulating, and enjoyable opportunities. Pro-

grams need to be developed and implemented across the country so that there are opportunities for children and youth to get active and be involved in physical activity. SNYB is an accessible program in all provinces and territories in Canada that assists children and youth in meeting physical activity guidelines by teaching the fundamentals of basketball and a love for the game. A critical finding from this year’s Report Card is that screen time is higher than ever. Children and youth are glued to the television during after school hours and even more so on the weekend. Many SNYB programs run on Saturdays throughout the school year which means increased active time and decreased screen time. It is one thing to limit the hours of screen time but an alternate activity needs to be available. Schools and community facilities should aim to run their SNYB program as an after school program during this time. The goal of Steve Nash Youth Basketball is to develop fundamental basketball skills and build character, self-esteem, and sportsmanship but also be a concrete avenue to ensure kids are physically active. SNYB hopes to increase participation, develop the game, and improve the health of children and youth across Canada. As parents, there are many things you can do to help your child stay active and meet Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines: • role model physical activity • reduce screen time and encourage an alternate activity that is physically active instead • pick up a basketball and shoot hoops outside or head to a local school ground • get involved in SNYB as a coach, referee, or volunteer • more parents actively involved = higher participation from kids Please check out Active Healthy Kids Canada to download a copy of Canada’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children & Youth 2008 at | your #1 source for all things basketball in Canada

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Canada gets a D