Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Healthy Active Living for Children & Youth

“Healthy active living” means being physically active & eating well every day.

Did you know that more than half of Canadian children are not active enough for optimal growth and development? That means they are not as healthy as they could be.

As well, 25% of children are considered obese, and that number is on the rise. The main reasons are:

Families can play an important role in promoting healthy active living. Here are some suggestions:

Get active

Get the whole family involved in regular physical activity and healthy eating. It will be easier if everyone’s in it together. If you focus on just one child, they may feel like they’re being punished. If your children are not active, increase the time that they currently spend on physical activities and sports by at least 30 minutes a day. They should spend at least 10 minutes on “vigorous activity,” which makes their hearts beat faster, makes them breathe harder, and makes their bodies feel warm.

Make active living part of your child’s daily routine. It’s easier and more realistic than relying only on scheduled, organized activities:

Encourage your child to take part in activities that involve moving, not sitting. Set limits on how much time they spend watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet—no more than one hour a day. Organized sports alone (such as a soccer team or a hockey league) aren’t enough to keep children and youth healthy. Encourage them to also discover activities they can do and enjoy every day, such as walking or cycling to a friend’s house or skipping rope. If you drive your children to school, try walking instead, or organize a walking club with the neighbours. Encourage your children to take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Get your child involved in activities around the house: carrying the groceries, raking leaves, or shovelling snow. Be sure activities are safe. Children and youth should wear protective equipment for activities like cycling, skating, skateboarding, soccer, and other physical activities.

Eat well

Be a role model!

Being active...


Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living, Health Canada:

Go for Green: Ideas for healthy, outdoor physical activities that protect the environment. National programs include Active & Safe Routes to School and International Walk to School Day:

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.