Coalition For Active Living

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Pan-Canadian Physical Activity Strategy

Create Physical Activity-Friendly Communities

The physical activity demands of daily life have decreased due to technological progress and the development of urban sprawl favoring the automobile. Overwhelmingly, Canadian adults are aware of the health benefits of physical activity and, over the last twenty years, Canadians have become more active in their leisure time. Yet, the choice to be active is not always easy. Active modes of transportation are rarely considered let alone given priority within municipal transportation plans. Safety concerns keep one in five Canadians from walking, wheeling and bicycling more. For many, walking to shop or do errands is a thing of the past. Choosing the stairs may take concerted effort to even locate the stairs in public buildings.

Over half of children have physical education classes two days a week or less. Two thirds of children have access to school-based opportunities, but four in ten parents believe that these programs are not adequate to meet their child's needs. Playing outside after school is no longer the norm. Indeed, by-laws or regulations may preclude playing in the street.

Community infrastructure is aging. There is increasing pressure on road systems in cities due to increased automobile ownership and travel. Recreational facilities may no longer be located where convenient for the majority of citizens and may no longer meet the needs of most citizens. The active choice is often the difficult choice.

Physical activity must be re-engineered back into daily life through the creation of barrier-free communities. Barrier-free communities are inclusive. They must be designed for all population groups, respecting cultural differences within communities and across the nation, and recognizing the needs of Canadians with various abilities and personal circumstances. To improve health, a comprehensive approach to development and redevelopment of community infrastructure is urgently needed to create more livable communities and improve the physical environment. A comprehensive plan is to make communities, schools, parks and local facilities safe and supportive of physical activity for our children

1. Healthy Public Policy

2. Community Physical Environments

3. Supportive Social Environments

4. Public Education

5. Research and Knowledge Exchange