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CHEO tests children's fitness

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER
Holy Name students participated in the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy this week. Here Amanda Higgin, with the CHEO Research Institute, puts grade five student Liam Brannan (right) through a sit and reach exercise as Montgomery Pastway and Smith Meadows look on.

SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER Holy Name students participated in the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy this week. Here Amanda Higgin, with the CHEO Research Institute, puts grade five student Liam Brannan (right) through a sit and reach exercise as Montgomery Pastway and Smith Meadows look on.

Holy Name students have taken part in a unique study to assess the level of children's fitness.

This week, researchers from the Research Institute for Healthy Active Living and Obesity at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) visited the Catholic school where they measured students on benchmarks including grip strength and flexibility. The kids were also given pedometers to wear to measure their activity.

The Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy is the first comprehensive protocol that can accurately and reliably assess a broad spectrum of skills and abilities that contribute to and characterize the physical literacy level of a participating child.

Rick Klatt, iterninant teacher for outdoor education and physical and health education for the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, said Holy Name was chosen among schools from six regions to participate in the study, which examines the health effects of physical inactivity and raises awareness of the need for children to be more active.

Physical literacy moves beyond just fitness, motor skill or motivation in isolation. The study is unique in that it can assess the multiple aspects of physical literacy: daily behaviour, motivation and confidence, knowledge and understanding, and physical competence.

"The teachers will get the opportunity to see how active their students are," explained Stacey Alpous, with the Research Institute for Healthy Active Living and Obesity. "It's the general consensus that kids aren't as active as they once were."

In May, 15 countries came together to present their respective national report cards at the Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children, and revealed the world's first-ever global matrix of grades on the physical activity of children and youth. Canada received a failing grade when it came to sedentary behaviours among the nation's children.

"We're hoping this assessment will give us a better window on what the kids need to work on to be physically literate and therefore more physical," added Alpous.

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist


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