A new yearly report card for 2016 by ParticipACTION has been released, and for the first time ever 24-Hour Movement Guidelines were created, showing physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep are closely interrelated. Thus, theses factors highlight the fact that sleep deprivation is a growing problem for kids in Canada.

  • In recent decades, children’s sleep duration has decreased by about 30 to 60 minutes
  • 33% of Canadian children aged 5 to 13, and 45% of youth aged 14 to 17, have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • 43% of 16- to 17-year-old Canadians are not getting enough sleep on weekdays

Physical Activity – Score: D+ 

It is recommended that children and youth get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day. Three of these days a week should include muscle and bone strengthening activities. This is important because it decreases the likelihood of obesity, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depression.

  • Only 9% of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day

Sedentary Behaviour – Score: F         

To clarify, sedentary behaviour is not merely lacking physical activity, but a group of behaviors requiring very low energy expenditure that occur whilst sitting or lying down, such as watching TV or playing video games.  It is recommended for children and youth to engage in no more than 2 hours of screen time a day, and to limit sitting for extended periods. Parents can monitor this by turning off the television at a set time each day, or setting a schedule for recreational activities.

Sleep – Score: B  

Additionally, getting enough sleep is an important factor in a child’s health and well-being. Even kids who meet the hours required for sufficient sleep are not necessarily sleeping well. For example, staying up late finishing homework or playing video games until midnight does not constitute a good night’s rest!

  • Too little sleep can cause hyperactivity, impulsiveness and a short attention span
  • Children with reduced sleep are more likely to struggle with verbal creativity and problem solving, and generally score lower on IQ tests
  • Chronic sleep loss is linked to higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts

To solve this, 9-11 uninterrupted hours are recommended for those aged 5-13 and 8-10 hours per night for those ages 14-17 years, with consistent sleep schedules

To conclude, preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.

It’s time for a wake-up call for children and youth! 

Please visit ParticipACTION for more information                                                                             

Categories: Adolescents, Behaviour and Development, Nutrition, Parenting, Physical Activity, Sleep

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