This week I head to the Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children in Toronto, Canada. I’ll be an official blogger at the conference and I’m looking forward to a bunch of great sessions (Full disclosure: several colleagues, including my former supervisor, were heavily involved in organizing the conference, and as a blogger my registration fees have been waived. That being said, I had already committed to attend the Summit anyway because it looks like a great conference).
Since beginning my Post Doc in December my research has been focusing on adult populations (specifically people with heart disease and other chronic conditions), so it will be nice to be back to pediatric research for a few days! I’ll be blogging more throughout the week, but I wanted to list my general itinerary here in case anyone wants to pop over and say hello. Also, if you’re planning to attend/blog about other sessions let me know and I’m happy to link to it here. For anyone tweeting about the conference, the official hashtag is #AHKCSummit.
Tuesday morning will be the unveiling of the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth (last year’s Report Card is available here). This happens in the spring of every year and not surprisingly, it’s typically a failing grade. What is exciting this year is that 15 other countries are unveiling report card simultaneously (Australia Canada, Colombia, England, Finland, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa and the USA). The Report Cards cover a variety of topics ranging from activity levels to infrastructure and policy, and I’m most interested in how the grades compare from one country to another. For example, last year Canada received a D- for childhood physical activity (e.g. our kids aren’t active enough) but a B+ for school infrastructure. I’m curious as to how that compares to a place like Kenya or Finland.
Tuesday afternoon I’ll be chairing the oral presentation session on Sedentary Behaviour in the Community. It should be a good session, and I’m hoping that people will come and ask some insightful questions of the speakers.
At the same time as my session, there is also a debate on the pros and cons of active video games. Mark Tremblay (my PhD supervisor) will be arguing that active video games are mostly bad for kids’ health (details on his position here), while Dr Elizabeth Lyons will be arguing that they are good for kids’ health. It should be a great debate, and it’s one that I really wish I could attend. As much as I want people to come to my session, I won’t take it personally if you hit up the debate instead.
The big event on Wednesday will be an afternoon debate between Drs David Dunstan and Ulf Ekelund comparing the relative importance of sedentary behaviour and physical activity. Ulf and David are two huge names in the fields of physical activity and sedentary behaviour research, and both are excellent presenters (I’ve discussed some of David’s work in the past here). This should be fantastic session, and I’d strongly recommend attending.
Concurrent with the debate I will also be presenting in the Active Transportation poster session. My poster outlines a new study validating pedometers in the measurement of moderate and vigorous physical activity (traditional pedometers measure total physical activity, whereas these new models measure both total activity as well as moderate and vigorous physical activity). So before or after the debate, swing by the poster and say hello.
The main event on Thursday will be a talk by Dr Mike Evans, the creator of the famous “30 minutes a day” video (email subscribers can see the video on the blog). He’ll be talking about his experience using unconventional means (youtube, a children’s book, etc) of communicating science with the public. This session is obviously up my alley for a few reasons (although I will say that just because you’re active for 30 minutes/day does not mean that it’s fine to sit for the rest of the day!).
So those are my plans for the conference. If you are presenting please feel free to post the time and location in a comment below so that people can drop by and say hello. And if you do happen to see me please be sure to say hello, especially if we’ve corresponded via Twitter or email in the past.
Hope to see you at the Summit!