3.27.2007

Canadian Kids

So the Standing Committee on Health (HESA)...not sure how that acronym fits, but I will go with it...has released a report saying that Canadian kids are fat and getting fatter. You can read the press release here, or download the report here.

Good news that the feds are realizing that we need to do something drastic about our kids health or they will be the first generation in a while that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Bad news that parents of obese kids don't even realize that their kids are obese. A total of 26% of Canadian kids are overweight or obese. Only 9% of parents of children between 2 and 18 years old identified their children as being overweight or obese.

Other troubling things identified in the report:

-adolescents spend an average of 35 hours per week in front of a screen;
-only one third of parents report participation in active games with their kids;
-less than one in five kids has daily physical education in school;
-sugary drinks are estimated to be responsible for half a kilogram of weight gain per month in adolescents (NOTE: 'Sports Drinks' like Gatorade, Powerade and the like are 'sugary drinks');
-60% of Canadian children aged 2-17 yrs consumed fruits and veggies less than 5 times per day;
-First Nations and Inuit children are getting up to 40% of their calories from sugar, fat, highly refined grains and junk food and less than 10% from traditional foods.

There are many reasons cited for these facts...

-low income was considered to be the largest barrier to participation in both unorganized and organized sports;
-as education levels increase, so does health status;
-strong, cohesive communities play a significant role in combatting childhood obesity;
-people who live in 'walkable' communities are 2.4 times more likely to get the recommended amount of physical activity;
- a basket of groceries in Kugaaruk, Nunavut costs $327 weekly, an amount double that of Edmonton;
-some population groups are biologically more susceptible to obesity-related health conditions;
-access to a range of health services (outside the traditional health sphere) is essential. Nutritionists and dieticians are important on the nutrition side and 'physical educator specialists' are important on the physical activity side;
-boys are more active than girls.

Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us.

I hope that you follow this blog over the coming months as we endeavour to make a difference in the one place where we have the most control, our own family.

By ditching our car, we plan to incorporate what I call 'authentic exercise' into our daily existence. If we need to get somewhere, we need to actually expend energy to get there.

On the nutrition side of the equation, we have been beginning to practice what Sans Auto calls 'intuitive eating'.

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