Action Schools! BC joins other initiatives across Canada promoting physical activity and healthy eating amongst school-aged children.
Research indicates that as many as 84% of Canadian children may not participate in enough physical activity to maintain healthy bodies and minds (1998/99 National Population Health Survey).
A significant number of schools do not appear to be allocating the Ministry recommended 10% of instructional time to physical education (BC Ministry of Education, 2001).
More than 33% of Canadian children are overweight and 15% are obese (BC Ministry of Health Planning, 2003).
Canadian children spend an average of 30 hours per week in school and, on average, 20 hours per week watching television or playing computer games outside of school (Stats Canada, 2001).
A recent study estimated that physical inactivity costs the British Columbia Health Care System $211 million a year in hospital, physician, drug, institutional and other direct costs. It is also estimated that physical inactivity results in $362 million in indirect costs to British Columbia each year, due to decreased productivity, premature death and disability. Summing these costs, it is estimated that physical inactivity results in a $573 million annual economic burden to British Columbia (Colman & Walker, 2004).
If physical activity were increased by 10% by 2010, the economic savings would amount to $18.3 million in direct costs and $31.1 million in indirect costs for an annual amount of $49.4 million (BC Ministry of Health Planning, 2004).
Children and adolescents who eat fruit and vegetables 5 or more times a day are substantially less likely to be overweight or obese than are those whose fruit and vegetable consumption is less frequent (CCHS, 2006).
29% of Canadian children aged 2-17 years who eat fruit and/or vegetables less than 3 times a day are overweight or obese (CCHS,2004).
59% of Canadian children and adolescents were reported to consume fruit and vegetables less than five times a day (CCHS, 2004).
The Action Schools! BC pilot found that no children in Grades 5 and 6 met the minimum recommendation of 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day (House, 2004).