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Kids & physical activity

Being physically active keeps children fit and healthy. There are also many social, emotional and educational benefits which can have a long-term impact. 

Benefit Reason why
Healthy bodies Regular activity builds a healthy heart, burns excess energy to help maintain a healthy weight, and can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic diseases.
Positive self esteem

Activity helps children feel good and try new skills.

Social skills Group activity provides the chance to make friends, build confidence and learn team-building skills.
Good mental health Activity can reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Better grades Activity can improve memory, creativity and problem-solving.
A lifetime of healthy habits Active children become active adults.

Tips to get moving

Children learn by watching and doing. You can help your children learn about healthy choices by modeling healthy living habits. By encouraging children to be physically active, you are helping to establish lifelong healthy habits.

Here are some tips to encourage your whole family to be active and healthy:

  • Build activity into your daily routines. Walk to school instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, play in the park after dinner.
  • Make it fun. Children who are given the opportunity to play are naturally active.
  • Offer activities that fit the ability and interests of your child—soccer, biking, ball hockey or skipping.
  • Encourage kids to participate in team sports at school. Focus on the fun social part and less on winning.
  • Ask your child to make a ‘Top 10’ list of their favourite activities that get them away from the TV and computer.
  • Join an after-school activity at your community centre: enjoy basketball, martial arts, gymnastics.
  • Encourage play time, outside or inside (dancing, balloon volleyball, bean bag games).
  • Offer a variety of activities—a balance of organized and active play; competitive and informal; individual and team.

Cut back on screen time

TV, cell phones, videos and computer games take children away from active play, games and sports.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of two hours per day.

Make it your goal to:

  • Keep children active after school
  • Avoid using the TV and computer as a babysitter
  • Turn off all screens during meals. Avoid snacking in front of the TV or computer
  • Set an example: model screen-free behaviour for your children


Be active—every day!

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that children and youth (aged five to 17 years old) build up to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. They should also have several hours of structured and unstructured light physical activities.

Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to play and participate in a variety of physical activities.

Activity for kids with type 1 diabetes

Regular physical activity is important for all children, including those with type 1 diabetes.

Because physical activity lowers blood sugar, it’s important to take steps to ensure that children with type 1 diabetes are safe, especially if the activity is unplanned or more intense than expected.

Make sure teachers, coaches, and other caregivers understand your child’s health condition. Provide detailed information about how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar and how to treat it. This information should be included in your child’s Individual Care Plan (ICP)

Make sure your child always has a source of fast-acting sugar, such as juice, glucose tabs, or candy.


Resources for educators, school boards, and parents of children with diabetes.

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