York University ‘gets moving’ in response to report card on kids’ physical activity

Kids playing tennis
Kids play tennis as part of York camp
Kids play tennis as part of York camp

York University is responding to a call for global action on physical activity among children by sending York students into local communities to get kids moving. York is also partnering with international programs that will enable the study of physical activity and health abroad, while welcoming international students to York to do the same here.

The 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, released yesterday by Active Healthy Kids Canada and partners, for the first time looked at how the physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth stacks up against 14 other countries. It found that Canada is among the top countries for providing physical activity infrastructure and programs to support kids’ activities, but Canada is at the back of the global pack for overall physical activity levels among children and youth.

York University’s KIN Kids program will expand this summer, offering children in several Ontario communities the opportunity to engage in a guided active play program focused on cooperative games that develop self-confidence and promote fun and fitness benefits. The program is led by kinesiology students in York’s Faculty of Health.

In addition, York is responding directly to the report card’s call for international action on childhood activity levels through a new Global Health degree program, which will start this fall. York’s Faulty of Health is the only academic institution in Canada to respond to the report card with commitments through a new degree program.

“This program, which will be unique in Canada, will offer students the opportunity to improve health for children worldwide and at home in many ways, including through physical activity,” said Professor Angelo Belcastro, chair of York’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science, who is also chair of the Board of Directors of Active Healthy Kids Canada.

During the group’s 2014 Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children, graduate students from 31 countries will speak about their research at a student engagement event. York graduate student Asal Moghaddaszadeh, who is hosting the student event, will look for opportunities for York students to work with students from around the world.

Following the Global Summit, Belcastro and other representatives of Canada and other countries will meet to identify opportunities to work together to internationally monitor and increase physical activity among children.