Insurmountable research is devoted to the reduced time children and youth are engaged in physical activity today. The common themes from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2011), the 2008/2009 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (2010), Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (2011), and the Can Play Study (2005-2010) are that children and youth are not meeting recommended daily physical activity requirements.
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (2011) for optimum health benefits “… children aged 5–11 years should accumulate at least 60 min of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily”.
In response, Cardston Elementary school has formed an Active Living Focus group. This group consists of parents, teachers and community members who are dedicated in finding ways for students to engage in physical activity. To date, Cardston Elementary has promoted the "Health Hustle," "Wellness Challenge," and supports after school sports, family walks, family fun runs and the Cardston Kids Marathon (CKM).
Reducing obesity rates is not the sole benefit of physical activity. The link between physical activity and increased brain activity is beginning to gain considerable attention. Harvard professor, Dr. John Ratey has conducted extensive research on physical activity for improving brain function at every age level. Ratey (2008) asserts that exercise optimizes brain function in three ways:
"… first it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells."