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October 27, 2017 11:32 pm

Northern Health Promotes Healthy, Safe Outdoor Play

Saturday, April 2, 2016 @ 3:50 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Spring is here, so what better time for kids to head outdoors and enjoy all the fun northern, B.C. has to offer?

That’s the message Northern Health is trying to get across, while also underscoring the need to be safe.

“We need to value health and fun as much as we value safety,” says injury prevention coordinator Denise Foucher.20160401_180908-1-1

“The 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on physical activity for children and youth revealed that to contribute to health and wellness, for children today, it’s imperative to get our kids outside.”

But that’s been a challenge according to the report, which revealed only 70% of children aged 3-4 are meeting their recommended rate of daily activity (180 minutes at any intensity level), and just 9% of kids aged 5-17 (60 minutes of moderate to vigorous play).

How to combat such low rates of physical activity?

“I think one is making going and doing something outside a reward, not a punishment of less screen time,” says children first manager Sandra Sasaki. “To make it something that’s really positive you want to do with your children.”

She adds it’s also important to give kids the opportunity to take risks in their play, “appropriate to their age and stage of development.”

“So a five year old is going to have less freedom and free range than a 12 year old,” says Sasaki.

“But a lot of our parenting in the last generation to two has been about increasing safety for our children and a lot of that has resulted in less freedom to explore and challenge themselves.”

Foucher says riding a bike is a good example of that.

“The hazard is falling and getting a head injury, but we know if you wear a helmet the risk of a head injury is significantly reduced,” she says, adding wearing that helmet allows for that freedom children need.

“The freedom to go and get out on that bike and maybe tumble and get a scrape and get back up again and work on their balance. Those are the type of things that we’re encouraging.”


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