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Kids’ couch-surfing hits new high

Canadian kids are continuing to swap their running shoes for cartoons,computers and high-octane video games, pushing sedentary behaviour toan all-time high across the country.


Canadian kids are continuing to swap their running shoes for cartoons, computers and high-octane video games, pushing sedentary behaviour to an all-time high across the country.

New evidence shows children and teens spend an average of 42 hours a week – three times longer than recommended guidelines — staring at a screen. And experts have given this couch-surfing existence a failing grade in an annual report card on physical activity.

This is the fourth straight year Canada has scored an overall grade of D on the Active Healthy Kids Canada report card. But it is the first time an F has been handed out for the screen-time sub-category.

Children between the ages of 10 and 16 are spending an average of six hours a day in front of a television or computer screen, according to the report card. Current guidelines recommend a total of two hours of leisure screen time a day.

Preschool-aged children are watching up to two hours of television a day, which far exceeds their daily screen-time guideline of 30 minutes.

“This is leisure time so the explanation that kids don’t have time to be active is not one, at least from this evidence, that seems valid,” said Tremblay, who is also chief scientific officer of Active Healthy Kids Canada.

The report card found 90 per cent of children and teens don’t meet Canada’s recommendations for 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, which also prompted a grade of F in that sub-category.

Kids being less active is one of the reasons rates of childhood obesity are soaring in Canada. Rates have tripled in the last 20 years.

 
 
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