It’s a worrying fact that our kids today are simply not active enough. Even though it may seem like we are constantly running around after them!

Only nine per cent of children aged 5-17 get the minimum amount of 60 minutes of heart pumping activity they need in their day, according to the 2016 Participaction report.

Many kids play sports – but these activities are usually organized and time specific. The free play children need is often replaced by screen time. And it’s getting worse.

The problem has far reaching consequences for these children growing up. It is not just an obesity issue. Bone health, spinal health, heart and lung health, psychosocial and mental health are all affected. These precious children are our leaders of the future.

Many of us are aware that children need to move for 60 minutes a day. The Quebec government has issued a mandate stating that schools now have to take on this responsibility. Le Grand Defi Pierre Lavoie is working with the government to incentivize schools and provide them with resources and tools.

But many schools and teachers are outfaced by this challenge. They have varying amounts of support and resources and many need help implementing something sustainable within their school day. It is added pressure during an already tight academic schedule.

I’m an exercise physiologist and mother of three (aged 12, 10 and 6) who has worked in chronic disease rehabilitation and health education for over 24 years, and I see first-hand the impact of poor lifestyle on health.

I moved here from the UK three years ago and was so shocked by the findings of the Participaction report on childhood sedentary behaviour that I was compelled to do something about it. I am the Founder of OneLife Health and Creator of Project Move.

For the past year and a half, I have implemented Project Move in schools, which aims to help schools integrate 60 minutes of movement into the school day. We present to children in a fun and interactive way on the dangers of “too much sitting” and, using current school resources as well as introducing new innovative new ideas, we inspire the kids to move, all with no extra administrative work for teachers!

My team and I want to make a difference. This starts with meeting the school administration and observing children to see how active they currently are.

McCaig Elementary School in Rosemère held Movement Week over three days in the past school year during which all kinds of activities took place before, during and after school.

These included BOKS, a free activity program two mornings per week before the start of classes, as well as Zumba, soccer referee training, gym bursts, classroom bursts, walking classes, active acting and a presentation to all students in the school.

There was also a story writing competition where grades 4-6 got to write a story on why we should stay active, using characters from my class presentation.

The winner of the competition won win a mini trampoline and had their story published thanks to a generous donation from iSaute Laval, who are proud supporters of Project Move.

Every initiative needs a legacy. McCaig’s will be a book in the library for future generations to read, continued active breaks in class, BOKS twice a week before school, leader playground games and the introduction of active stations for the whole school.

We all have a moral obligation to today’s children to help them stay active, healthy and able to learn.

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