Kids average 40 hours a week in front of TV, computer
Kids spend an average of 40 hours a week sitting in front of screens, and many of those inactive hours are right after school, warns the annual report card from Active Healthy Kids Canada.
Children and youth spend the equivalent of a full work week on videogames, television and Facebook, says the 2011 report, released Tuesday. For the fifth straight year, it awards a failing grade for physical activity and screen time.
It stresses that while the after-school window provides an ideal time for recreational sports or running around in schoolyards and parks, kids spend only about 14 minutes of the three hours between the school bell and dinner actually moving their bodies.
“These alarming numbers equate to a very sedentary child,” says Mark Tremblay, chief scientific officer with Active Healthy Kids.
“What we’re trying to push is (the creation of) increased opportunities for kids to be more active after school, and particularly outside, away from screens and where they are less likely to eat.”
The widely-watched annual report card, introduced in 2005, shows little improvement from the bad news of previous years, which have highlighted the declining levels of daily movement and the need for policies to offset the trend.
It notes only 9 per cent of boys and 4 per cent of girls meet Health Canada’s recommended minimum of one hour a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise. On a more encouraging note, 44 per cent of kids meet the one-hour guideline three times a week and four out of five get half an hour of exercise, but new habits and programs are needed to bump that to healthier levels.