Canadian kids are spending too much time in front of screens, not getting enough exercise, and now you can officially add not getting enough sleep to the worrying list of bad lifestyle habits.
This according to the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card that came out the end of last week.
The report card found that 31 per cent of school-aged children and 26 per cent of adolescents are sleep deprived.
On top of that, in a finding that should be a surprise to nobody, only nine per cent of children get enough physical activity each day and only 24 per cent spend two hours a day or less in front of a screen — everyone else spends more, sometimes a lot more.
Is it any wonder that obesity and other health woes in children are skyrocketing?
How many kids that you know actually spend a whole hour running around each and every day? On the flip side, how many kids do you know who can spend hours upon hours moving through the levels of a video game, or binge watching a television program?
And take a look at these effects of not getting enough sleep: hyperactivity, lower IQ scores, adverse hormonal changes like those associated with obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
It’s all interconnected.
And it’s not just about kids.
All of the above is true of a large and growing proportion of adults in Canadian society.
We spend too much time sitting. We spend too much time in front of the computer and the television. We don’t exercise enough. We are, as a population, getting fatter and sicker.
It’s the trickle-down effect in an extremely undesirable area.
Our kids mimic the lives that we’re living.
The good news about that is that it’s well within our power to change to a healthier lifestyle and benefit the entire family.
Spend family time running around outdoors doing a physical activity everyone loves, rather than everyone disappearing into their own electronic devices.
It may be a way to keep the kids quiet and somewhere that you can easily monitor them, but sitting them down in front of a screen for hours on end while you try to get chores done is also dooming them to ill-health. So turn it off and send them outside to play. or give them a few chores to do.
Set a bedtime and stick to it. No electronics in the bedrooms. If they’ve been outside running around, they will be tired.
Let’s turn that “F” on the report card for sedentary behaviour into something that’s a least passable.