Wellness, Culture and Sport

Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (10/04/27)

NB 622

April 27, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Canadian children aged five and younger are dangerously inactive, according to the 2010 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, released today.

Hédard Albert, minister of wellness, culture and sport, said that the department supports the report by Active Healthy Kids Canada and its strategic partners, ParticipACTION and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute - Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group.

"The report card indicates the situation in New Brunswick and in the whole country," said Albert. "It is important for us to know what works and what needs to be done to improve the health and wellness of children. We believe it is important to work together to improve the health situation for all New Brunswickers, especially the children."

New this year is report card information specific to the provinces and territories. New Brunswick's statistics show that:

The report card recommends that policy makers address active living for children under five and promote active play as part of early years support programs for families. Healthy habits must start young because lifestyle patterns set in the early years predict obesity and health outcomes in later childhood, and even through adulthood.

Albert said Live Well, Be Well: New Brunswick's Wellness Strategy provides a framework for enhancing wellness in the key areas of mental fitness and resilience, physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco-free living. The strategy encourages both government and non-government contribution to enhancing wellness. It promotes a comprehensive approach to address potential areas of intervention, to leverage resources and to engage in partnerships.

One result of the strategy is the Active Kids Toolkit initiative. Through a partnership with the New Brunswick Gymnastics Association, the department has increased awareness of the importance of physical activity for children and families, and enhanced the opportunity for daily, quality physical activity for children in the province.

The Active Kids Toolkit has provided direct resource and training support to about 300 approved child daycares and community daycare homes, 85 early interventionists, 115 family resource centre staff, 60 public libraries, 600 families and 50 community organizations.

The Active Kids monthly newsletter, received by 1,200 individuals and organizations, is full of ideas and resources designed to help New Brunswickers weave physical activity into their day.

"It is important to understand that physically active kids grow into strong, healthy adults," said Albert. "With healthcare costs spiraling up, it is essential that our society build the foundation for a healthier, more active population by supporting and encouraging families, at all levels, to get their kids moving."

To read the complete Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card for 2010, refer to www.activehealthykids.ca.

For more information on Live Well, Be Well: New Brunswick's Wellness Strategy, visit www.gnb.ca/wellness.

10/04/27

CONTACT PERSON: Elizabeth Joubert, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445.

10/04/27