Federal funding aims to boost physical activity levels for vulnerable youth

(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Colecanstock)

The Sport for Life Society is receiving more than $3.79 million in federal funding for the Physical Literacy for Communities project. The money will help increase physical activity levels for up to 150,000 children and youth aged 2-18 in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nunavut, and Atlantic Canada.

The project aims to reach Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant children, as well as children with disabilities. This three-year project will support schools and communities in addressing specific local barriers to healthy active living, as well as build community capacity through training on physical literacy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, only 4.8% of children aged 5-11 and 0.8% of youth aged 12-17 meeting Canada’s 24-hour movement guidelines. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 15% of 5-17 year old youth were meeting Canada’s 24-hour movement guidelines .

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years) are the first evidence-based guidelines to consider activities throughout the whole day. For optimal health benefits, children and youth should achieve at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, several hours of structured and unstructured light physical activity, and 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.

“The rising rates of diabetes and obesity in children across Canada, especially among Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant children is a big concern. For children and youth to be at their healthiest, they need high levels of physical activity and healthy foods during their day. Through these two projects, children will get to learn healthy habits early on, which in turn will support good health throughout their adult life.” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health.