BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

May 26, 2005 14:39 ET

BCMA Calls on BC's Families to Take up a 30 Minute Physical Activity Challenge

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 26, 2005) - At least 30 minutes of physical activity is needed by children and adults each day to achieve optimum health. British Columbia falls significantly short of this number with only 18% of youth participating in exercise seven days a week. The BC Medical Association (BCMA) encourages families to take up a daily 30 minute physical activity challenge.

The 30 minute physical activity challenge is part of the BCMA's Eat well, Play well, Stay well campaign to equip parents with information to make healthy choices for their children in order to prevent and reduce cases of childhood obesity. The BCMA has created a list of physical activity suggestions for families to help them get started in their 30 minute physical activity challenge.

Suggestions for families

- Record your daily physical activity on a chart

- Take the stairs rather than the elevator

- Go for a walk after dinner - make the walk an adventure

- Walk, run, or ride a bike instead of driving the car

- Try a new sport with a family member or friend

- Hold a stairs challenge - everyone counts the number of stairs they climb in a day to increase the number each week

- Limit TV time - exchange TV time for physical activity time

- Take 5 or 10 minute activity breaks to stretch or walk around when sitting at the computer or TV

The overall goal of a 30 minute physical activity challenge is to increase the time spent on physical activity and decrease inactive time spent watching television, playing video or computer games, or surfing the internet. Over a five month period the initial 30 minutes should grow to reach 90 minutes of physical activity per day, according to Health Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living.

Regular physical activity helps children and adults to build strong bones and strengthen muscles, maintain flexibility, achieve a healthy weight, maintain good posture, and strengthen their heart. In addition to improving physical health, it also improves self esteem, improves sleep quality, increases relaxation, and provides opportunities to meet new friends.

Nationally, only 3 out of 5 Canadian children are active enough for proper growth and development. The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in Canada over the last 25 years. Today 1 in 4 Canadian children are overweight or obese. Obesity in children can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and mental health problems lasting into adulthood.

For more information on the Eat well, Play well, Stay well campaign visit http://www.bcma.org/healthykids.

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