Canada is the first country in the world to have guidelines about limiting the time children and teens spend being inactive(sedentary) each day. The guidelines recommend limiting:
Sedentary behaviours for children include:
Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children also show how important it is for children to move often, every day.
Research shows that there’s a direct link between having more sedentary time and:
In Canada, children and teens spend 62% of the hours they’re awake being sedentary. The average amount of screen time school-age children have in a day is 6 to 8 hours.
Having less sedentary time has many health benefits. Children who are active are often better learners (e.g., if children go for a 10-minute walk before a test, they may be more relaxed when taking the test). However, some schools aren’t aware of how important it is to decrease sedentary time for students.
Research shows that being less sedentary has health benefits, even if people already do moderate or vigorous activity everyday. Standing and moving around more often during the day can burn a few hundred more calories in a day. However, just being less sedentary is only one part of being healthy. It’s important to spend less time being sedentary
and more time being active. These habits will set children up to be healthier and happier.
Activity guidelines in Canada recommend at least
60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity everyday for children and teens.
Keeping children active with less sedentary time can be a challenge, but it’s a shared responsibility between parents, schools, and communities. For example, if schools keep children active for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day, the other 30 minutes could be done at home or in the community.
Parents have the most responsibility when it comes to decreasing sedentary time because most of it happens after school. It would help if schools encouraged children to decrease sedentary time and be more active on the way to and from school if possible.
Here are some ideas to help schools decrease sedentary time:
There are many light-intensity activities that can replace sedentary time. Here are a few:
The less sedentary you are, the better it is for your health. Teach your children about the benefits of being active and lead by example.
Even people who are active may not be as healthy as they could be if they’re mostly sedentary. If someone is only active for an hour a day and sedentary for the rest of the time, they don’t get all the health benefits from being active. It’s important to be more active
and decrease sedentary time.
A good first step is to know that you need to be less sedentary. There are many ways to remind you to be more active during the day (e.g., screen saver on your computer, app on your phone).
Try these ideas to be less sedentary:
Teach children and teens to limit sedentary time. Teach them the health benefits of less sedentary time and being more active. It’s a good idea to keep track of how much time is spent being active and on sedentary activities.
Current as of: January 25, 2016
Author: Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Health Services
This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, or treatment. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider. This information may be printed and distributed without permission for non-profit, education purposes. The content on this page may not be changed without consent of the author. Contact email@example.com.