Since 1990, Canadian health authorities and organizations have regularly researched the state of youth health in Canada. The recent statistical data shows that Canadian youth are becoming less concerned about their inactive lifestyle and unhealthy diet. The data and research results suggest that Canada should adopt national strategies of youth health promotion. Canada is ranked the third physically active nation in the world after Sweden and France (Public Health Agency of Canada).
As compared to 1994, Canada has lost its leading position and is no longer considered a model of youth active lifestyle and diet. The recent Canadian research supports the growing national concern about the state of youth health in the country. "When it comes to exercise and a healthy diet, the report found almost half of 11-to 15-year-olds are physically inactive, and less than half report eating fruits or vegetables on a daily basis" (The Canadian Press). Canadian youth are becoming less active, and are more involved into watching television or playing computer games.
It is not enough to determine, how many young people are involved into sports; one must take into account the duration and frequency of physical exercises. These factors ultimately determine the effectiveness of active lifestyle. "One-half to three quarters of the girls and three quarters or more of the boys exercise twice or more a week. Boys in all age groups are more likely than girls to exercise regularly" (Public Health Agency of Canada). However, young people in Canada prefer frequency to duration of physical exercises (Public Health Agency of Canada).
This approach to physical activity does not produce even the slightest positive effect on a young organism. Physical inactivity is combined with misbalanced nutrition. Canadian youth seem unaware of the fact that healthy nutrition positively impacts their physical and emotional development. They prefer consuming less nutritious food. 15% of students state that they eat French fries daily; 24% admit that they eat candy and chocolate every day. In average, young people in Canada consume 20% more energy than their organisms normally need (Canadian Paediatric Society 341).
They refuse from breakfasts, but recognize the need to lose some weight. Nutritional misbalance makes Canadian youth susceptible to obesity risks. The portion of students on a diet increases with each grade level (The Canadian Press). I think that Canada is facing the crisis of nutritional misbalance and physical inactivity. Although it is still ranked the third healthiest country in the world, the state should pay more attention to the threatening health trends among Canadian youth. 28% of Canadian youth are physically inactive. Girls are physically inactive in all demographic groups.
Inactive lifestyle is combined with sedentary behavior – watching TV or playing computer games (Canadian Paediatric Society 342). The problem is that physical inactivity and nutritional misbalance lead to obesity, diabetes, and other related diseases: since 1996, childhood obesity prevalence in Canada has nearly tripled (Crichton & Robertson 37). This data has completely changed my personal attitudes towards lifestyle and nutrition; I will be more attentive to what I eat, and how active I am, to avoid possible health problems in future. To improve the situation, Canadian health authorities should develop new youth programs, which will encourage active lifestyle, and will make youth more attentive to what they eat.
Conclusion The state of Canadian youth health leaves much to be desired. Young people lack physical activity and nutritional balance. Canadian health authorities should develop sound national strategies to address nutritional and physical activity issues which Canadian youth face.