The YMCA in Greater Vancouver says one in five children now require financial aid to access its programs, so it's launching a fundraising campaign for its Strong Kids program to keep up with demand.

The Y hopes to raise $800,000 to help pay for programs for disadvantaged children to stay active.

Spokeswoman Sheri Josephson says only five per cent of children and youth get the 60 minutes of physical activity they need each day.

YMCA sisters

The YMCA Strong Kids fund is used to help sisters like these two access programs they might otherwise not be able to afford. (YMCA)

"This is the first generation of children and youth in modern history to face a lower life expectancy than their parents," said Josephson.

Josephson says living expenses in Metro Vancouver and time constraints from commuting are barriers that keep families from registering their children in activities.

"Everyone in the community and in government needs to step up and urgently take action, whether that's donating to the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign, enrolling your child in a physical activity program or developing policy that removes barriers to participation. We're all responsible to solve this problem."