Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador supports findings in the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card

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St. John’s, NL June 16, 2016 – Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador supports findings in the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card. Released today, the ParticipACTION Report Card highlights the important relationship between sleep, physical activity and sedentary behavior and for the first time, assigns a grade to sleep and includes new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. A first of their kind in the world, the guidelines outline what a healthy 24-hour period looks like for children and youth.

“Sleep deprivation is becoming a problem for Canadian children and youth, creating an insidious threat to their mental and physical health,” says Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chief Scientific Officer, ParticipACTION Report Card and Director of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (CHEO-HALO). “It’s time to take a whole day approach – many kids are too tired to get enough physical activity during the day, and not active enough to be tired at night – it’s a vicious cycle.”

According to the Report Card, for optimal health children and youth need to sweat, step, sleep and sit the right amounts. Only nine per cent of kids get enough heart-pumping physical activity and only 24 per cent are meeting screen time guidelines of no more than two hours per day. Plus, in recent decades, children’s nightly sleep duration has decreased by 30 minutes to an hour; 31 per cent of school-aged kids are 26 per cent of adolescents in Canada are sleep-deprived.

In addition to impacting children’s physical activity levels, sleep deprivation has many other health implications. For example, too little sleep can causehyperactivity, lower IQ scores and produce adverse hormonal changes like those associated with increased risks of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

The new Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth call for at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time, limited sitting for extended periods and at least 9-11 hours of sleep per night for children 5-13 years, and 8-10 hours for those aged 14-17 years. They were developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Conference Board of Canada, HALO-CHEO, ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada, with input from research experts and stakeholders across Canada andaround the world.

Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador was pleased to see the positive ratings in the Report Card for Community and Environment, and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) contributions to active living. Based on the 2015 Physical Activity Opportunities in Canadian Communities survey, among municipalities with more than 1,000 residents, 35 per cent have a physical activity and sport strategy, 56 per cent consider physical activity a high priority and 81per cent have a shared use agreement with school boards for facilities.

“We recognize that through working with municipalities and other organizations to support of recreation through communication, advocacy, education and training, we can make greater strides toward positive changes,” said Jerry Knee, Physical Activity Representative with Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador. “There is significant value in activity and recreation for all ages, including children and youth, and Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador offers a range of programs and services to get our communities moving and living a healthier lifestyle.”

Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador also recognizes that regular physical activity may be the best sleep aid there is. The ParticipACTION Report Card indicates that Grade 5 students with higher physical activity levels are less likely to be sleepy during the daytime and high school students who get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day are 41 per cent more likely to get sufficient sleep than those who don’t.

“Our tendency may be to cram more into each day to wear kids out, but a full schedule of activities doesn’t necessarily equal more physical activity,” says Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION. “It’s time for a wake-up call. If we want to improve sleep in our kids, we need to get them off the couch and away from their screens with regular, heart-pumping activity.”

The Report Card assigns grades in 12 categories this year, with Sedentary Behaviour receiving the lowest mark:
“D-“ for Overall Physical Activity
“F” for Sedentary Behaviour
“D” for Active Transportation
“D+” for Active Play
“D+” for Physical Literacy
“C+” for Family and Peers
“C+” for School
“B” for Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation
“B” for Sleep
“B-“ for Government
“A-“ for Community and Environment
“A-“ for Non-Government

To download the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card Highlight Report, including the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, or the full 76-page Report, please visit


About Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador
Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador (RNL) is a province wide, not for profit organization that promotes the values and benefits of recreation. In partnership with volunteers and the professional recreation community, RNL has worked to improve the quality of recreation for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for over 40 years by supporting the benefits of recreation through communication, advocacy, education and training. RNL envisions a province of engaged communities where all people embrace the benefits of recreation to enhance their quality of life.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Gary Milley, Executive Director
Recreation NL
T: 709-729-3892