85 Percent of Canadian Parents finding it hard to be a Health Role Model for the Children

Parents more likely to cite outside influences as excellent role models for their child

Child playing with a ball
85 Percent of Canadian Parents finding it hard to be a Health Role Model for the Children

On May 28, 2015, the YMCA released the 2015 YMCA Healthy Kids Report which unveiled that parents are finding it difficult to set a healthy example for their children with 85 per cent stating that it takes effort to be a healthy role model. Nationally, 35 per cent of parents do not think their 6-12 year old is getting enough physical activity per week. To encourage families to get out and be active, the YMCA of Oakville will join YMCAs across Canada in celebrating YMCA Healthy Kids Day on June 7 – a national day dedicated to improving the health and well-being of kids across the country.

“Children between the ages of 6-12 are at an important stage of their development and this is a key time for instilling healthy behaviour and habits,” said Kyle Barber, president and CEO, at the YMCA of Oakville. “While parents may find it difficult to find time in their schedules, our YMCA offers a wealth of family-friendly programs and activities that can make getting active together just a little bit easier.”

The study revealed that parents feel that they are the most important influence on their young children; however only a few identify themselves as healthy role models:

  1. 71% of parents who said they were a role model to their child state that they have a lot of influence on their child
  2. Only 28% of parents who said they were a role model to their child identify themselves as ‘excellent’ role models for their children, ranking outside influences as higher including athletes (56%), coaches (51%) and teachers (38%)
  3. Parents said that they find it difficult to lead healthy and active lives, with only half of those surveyed stating that they get more than the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week
  4. Only four in ten parents across Canada (42%) say their child gets the recommended 7 hours of physical activity per week
  5. 46% of parents cite lack of time as the biggest barrier to participating in activities with their children
  6. In discussing peak activity levels for their child, 30% of parents said their child was most active at school or after school, 23% said during the summer and only 17% said weekends

The theme of this report focused on children aged 6-12 and the importance of role models in promoting their healthy development and activity levels. Additional findings from the report found that while parents know where to find programs and services that promote active and healthy living, 54 per cent do not have the time or money to access them.

“The YMCA gives children, no matter what their financial situation, the support and opportunity they need throughout the year to learn, play and grow in a safe and supportive environment,” said Teresa Rinaldi, Manager, Community Initiatives at the YMCA of Oakville. “We hope to welcome even more children and their parents on June 7 when we celebrate YMCA Healthy Kids Day by opening our doors for free for the community. Check our website for event details at ymcaofoakville.org.”

YMCA Healthy Kids Day will take place at the Peter Gilgan Family YMCA at 410 Rebecca Street on Sunday, June 7 from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Activities include:

  1. Art in the Park with Oakville Galleries
  2. ArtHouse Hip Hop Dance workshop
  3. Family Fitness activities: swim, rock climb, yoga, boot camp
  4. Skatepark with Jibs Action Sports presenting European pro riders
  5. Family Camp Zone with activities, songs and campfire
  6. Oakville Public Library Dance Party
  7. Preschool Zone with Oakville Parent-Child Centre
  8. RockPro music lesson demo and live music by Massive Tank Studios
  9. 3-on-3 Basketball tournament
  10. Healthy food workshops and healthy snack demos
  11. Onsite Food trucks for lunch


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