85% of canadian parents say it takes effort to be a healthy role model for their kids

Montreal, May 28, 2015 - The YMCA released the 2015 YMCA Healthy Kids Report which unveiled that parents are finding it difficult to set a healthy example for their children with 85% stating that it takes effort to be a healthy role model. Nationally, 35% of parents do not think their 6-12 year old is getting enough physical activity per week. To encourage families to get out and be active, the YMCAs of Québec will join YMCAs across Canada in celebrating YMCA Healthy Kids Day on June 7 – a national day dedicated to improving the health and well-being of kids across the country.

“Children between the ages of 6-12 are at an important stage of their development and this is a key time for instilling healthy behaviour and habits”, said Stéphane Vaillancourt, President and CEO of The YMCAs of Québec.  “While parents may find it difficult to find time in their schedules, our YMCA offers a wealth of family-friendly programs and activities that can make getting active together just a little bit easier.”

The study revealed that parents feel that they are the most important influence on their young children; however only a few identify themselves as healthy role models: 

  • 71% of parents who said they were a role model to their child state that they have a lot of influence on their child
  • Only 28% of parents who said they were a role model to their child identify themselves as ‘excellent’ role models for their children, ranking outside influences as higher including athletes (56%), coaches (51%) and teachers (38%)
  • Parents said that they find it difficult to lead healthy and active lives, with only half of those surveyed stating that they get more than the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week 
  • Only four in ten parents across Canada (42%) say their child gets the recommended 7 hours of physical activity per week 
  • 46% of parents cite lack of time as the biggest barrier to participating in activities with their children  
  • In discussing peak activity levels for their child, 30% of parents  said their child was most active at school or after school, 23% said during the summer and only 17% said weekends

The theme of this report focused on children aged 6-12 and the importance of role models in promoting their healthy development and activity levels. Additional findings from the report found that while parents know where to find programs and services that promote active and healthy living, 54% do not have the time or money to access them. 

“The YMCA gives children, no matter what their financial situation, the support and opportunity they need throughout the year to learn, play and grow in a safe and supportive environment”, said Maria English, Regional Director, Child Development, at the YMCAs of Québec. “We hope to welcome even more children and their parents when we celebrate YMCA Healthy Kids Day by opening our doors for free for the community.”

About the YMCAs of Québec
The YMCAs of Québec is a charitable organization that builds stronger communities by providing opportunities for everyone to lead fulfilling, active, healthy and engaged lives. Its 10 YMCA centres, International Language School, Ski School, Residence, Camp YMCA Kanawana and its 43 service sites across the province are visited each year by more than 125,000 people. The first YMCA in North America was founded in Montréal in November 1851. The YMCAs of Québec is part of the Canadian network of 50 YMCA associations. For more information, visit ymcaquebec.org or our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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For more information, please contact:
Nathalie Viora, Communications Manager / The YMCAs of Québec
514 849-5331, poste 1215 / 514 523-2006 fondation@ymcaquebec.org