Today is the first full day at the Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children, and it began with the unveiling of Physical Activity Report Cards from 15 different countries. Canada has been releasing an annual Report Card on childhood physical activity for 10 years, but this year they were joined by countries ranging from England and the USA to Ghana and Kenya. Canada and the USA received overall grades of D- (not a big surprise who for those of us that have followed these things over the years), while New Zealand and Mozambique had the top grades (B for both countries). In addition to overall physical activity, the report cards also looked at different key indicators for each country.
Interestingly, Canada scored relatively well on indicators related to school physical activity, family and peer support, and government policy and the built environment (I say relatively well because the grades were still typically low, but they were nonetheless in the top third of countries). In other words, in Canada we seem to be doing a good job of putting the supports in place for kids to be active (or at least paying it lip service), but it’s not making much of a difference in terms of actual physical activity levels. Below is a video of Joel Barnes, lead author of the Canadian Report Card, explaining their key findings for this year.
Below is another interview with Leila Pfaeffli Dale, co-author of the New Zealand Report Card. I did this interview in response to a question on twitter from Yoni Freedhoff, asking why New Zealand scores better than Canada. I’m not sure if the answer will satisfy his curiosity – it seems to come down at least partly to cultural differences, and a very strong sport culture among Kiwi youths and Indigenous populations – but it’s interesting nonetheless.