“There is no time like right now for children to get up and get moving!”  That is one of the new tag-lines from the latest documents released by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP): “Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Canadian Children and Youth.” These guidelines provide recommendations on limiting the amount of  time Canadian children and youth should be sedentary to minimize health risks.

Yes, the activity levels – or more specifically, the extremely low activity levels – of our young people have reached the critical point where not only are there daily physical activity guidelines to follow, but kids must also be guided towards limiting their sedentary behavior. Though it is troubling that physical games and outdoor play have been slowly substituted with screen time, and common physical activities we all did as kids, such as walking to school, are becoming a rarity, at least the ball is rolling (and, with hope, it will be rolled by the young ones themselves). The aim is to reverse these patterns and get our children up from the couch, actively traveling to school, playing outside and moving more throughout their day.

The guidelines suggest that limiting recreation screen time to less than 2 hours per day and reducing time spent sitting, being transported to school by vehicle, and low-activity indoor play may all contribute to health benefits. With Canadian children and youth currently spending an astonishing 62% of their waking hours being sedentary, which research is now showing is associated with increased health risks, there is also no time like right now for these new guidelines (plus the January 2011 physical activity guidelines) to be put to press.

Check out the guidelines here and tell us your thoughts below or by e-mailing info@greenactioncentre.ca.

To see all of CSEP’s guidelines, visit www.csep.ca/guidelines.