UPEI researchers lend hand to national physical literacy study
Study suggests most Canadian children haven’t achieved an acceptable level of physical literacy
About two-thirds of Canadian children haven't achieved an acceptable level of physical literacy, according to results from a large national research project.
Physical literacy moves beyond just fitness or motor skills. It includes the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.
Fourteen articles that looked at different aspects of physical literacy and the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy (CAPL) were published Wednesday as a special supplement in the journal BMC Public Health. More than 10,000 children, aged eight to 12, from 11 sites across the country participated in the study through the CHEO Research Institute and research partners. Using the CAPL, children were assessed on a number of different areas.
Two of the published articles were led by UPEI researchers. Travis Saunders, assistant professor of applied human sciences, examined the relationship between sedentary behaviour and physical literacy.
We found that children who spend more time watching TV or playing video games had lower physical literacy.— Travis Saunders
"We found that children who spend more time watching TV or playing video games had lower physical literacy," said Saunders in a news release. "This suggests that minimizing screen time may help promote the development of physical literacy."
Dany MacDonald, associate professor and chair of applied human sciences, used CAPL data to explore the roles that adequacy and predilection for physical activity play in a child's physical literacy.
"The findings suggest that children's perception of adequacy and predilection need to be considered to fully understand how physical literacy develops in this age group," said MacDonald. "In addition, it was also found that a child's cardiovascular fitness had the strongest association with adequacy and predilection to physical activity, suggesting a complex relationship between children's physical and psychological states and physical literacy."
First comprehensive assessment
The results of the research provide the first comprehensive assessment of the physical literacy of Canadian children, said Mark Tremblay, senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute
"Through this project, we provide comprehensive evidence that Canadian children aged eight to 12 years are falling short of standards for components of physical literacy," he said. "For example, boys and girls across Canada have aerobic fitness levels at the 30th percentile of global norms and only 20 per cent are meeting physical activity guidelines."