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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - Active at School Initiative

Active at School Initiative

Hon Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, year after year, health specialists inform and warn us of the negative consequences of inactivity, especially for our children. The long- term effects can be drastic for our society, and we need to reverse the trend of inactivity. Different awareness campaigns were successfully put together, but one recent initiative could be a game-changer: Active at School. The goal of Active at School is to ensure that Canadian children receive one hour of quality physical activity and education before, during or after school every single day.

With Canadian Tire being a major partner, Active at School brings together over 60 different partners: the NHL, Bell, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and the list goes on. By using their individual networks, expertise, resources and marketing channels, their goal is to reverse the trend of child inactivity. Never has a partnership of this magnitude with an important number and various resources ever been assembled to tackle the challenge of child inactivity.

We are already seeing the benefits of Active at School with the Premier's Challenge in New Brunswick. Last December, the Province of New Brunswick launched an initiative, the Premier's Challenge, designed to ensure children across the province have one hour of physical activity every day. With a $1-million contribution from Canadian Tire and Active at School, the province can roll out the pilot project to 20 schools, with the eventual goal of reaching out to every school. Hopefully, other provinces and groups will have the chance to maximize their efforts in curbing the trend of inactivity among Canadian children and youth by offering them daily physical activity.

Not only is physical activity great to prevent health risks, it contributes to increase bone density, healthy body composition, improved posture and reduced injury occurrence. It is also associated with improved psychological well-being with reduced stress, anxiety and depression, and it may lead to greater mental discipline, enhanced social skills and better performance in school.

Children are adopting a more inactive lifestyle by spending more and more time on computers, video games and television and are missing out on the benefits of physical activity. As legislators and parents, we must find a way to engage our youth in daily physical activity, since the habit may carry over into adulthood for healthier living.

(1350)

Please join me, honourable senators, in encouraging the Active at School partners in their goal of reversing the trend of inactivity among our youth and that other provinces and regions may take advantage of this exceptional partnership for a healthier tomorrow for our youth.

 

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