Kids’ Physical Inactivity Affecting Their Brains

ParticipACTION Report Card not painting a pretty picture

A lot of Ds on the 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

In particular, a D+ for overall physical activity.

And that lack of physical activity may be having an impact on the health of kids’ brains rendering them less attentive, moody and not meeting their full potential in and out of the classroom.

“In order to help support the development of strong, healthy brains we need to encourage kids to get enough daily heart-pumping physical activity,” said Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION. “Research shows that active kids perform better in school and are generally happier. We need to be active role models and set kids up to succeed. I understand that modern life can get in the way of making the time to get active, but I encourage all families to try. And, get outdoors more because it is a powerful antidote for kids facing stress.”


Just 35 per cent of 5 to 17-year-olds are getting the recommended physical activity needed for their age group compared to 62 per cent of 3 to 4-year-olds – those who have yet to be lured into the world of gaming.

Karen Pulla, Vice-President of Health, Fitness and Aquatics at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka says the ‘Y’ is trying to engage older kids by combining some aspects of gaming with physical activity, “Apps and different things we are able to use to be able to track physical activity, whether it’s how many steps you take, how many kilometres you do, how fast you do it, how much energy you put out – we can track that and compare it against each other. It’s a good healthy competition.”


Pulla adds we have to rethink how we encourage kids to be more active, “If you told a child they have to run up and down a hill 50 times, they would say I don’t think so. Put a toboggan in their hands and give them some snow and they’ll run up and down there a hundred times.”

Click here for more information on the YMCA and its programs.

Other grades assigned in the Report Card include:

  • “D” for Active Play & Leisure Activities
  • “D-” for Active Transportation
  • “B” for Organized Sport Participation
  • “C-” for Physical Education
  • “B+” for Sleep
  • “D+” for Physical Literacy
  • “D” for Physical Fitness
  • “C+” for Family & Peers
  • “B-” for School
  • “B+” for Community & Environment
  • “C+” for Government

banner image – Cobber99 via Flickr