LES ENFANTS ONT PERDU DES MILLIONS D’HEURES DE JEU

Par ces auteurs invités : David Legg, Ph.D. et Cheri L. Bradish, Ph.D.

Le 13 septembre 2021

As we pass the 18-month mark of Covid-19 in Canada, we can’t ignore the challenges that may face youth as we attempt to ‘return to normal’, and the long-term implications of what has transpired - or not transpired - as this blog will note.

We all know that programming changes and shutdowns have resulted in a significant decline in participation in organized sport and structured play. Whether these activities were replaced by more unstructured play such as hiking and walking, we do not know. Regardless, we assert that the collective impacts for programmers, health professionals, parents and children alike are potentially staggering.

In fact, from our initial analysis, we project that from March - December 2020 more than 277 million hours of sport participation were lost for children living in low-income households across Canada.

« 277 millions d’heures de participation sportive ont été perdues »

Comment en sommes-nous venus à cette conclusion?

  • Just under 1.5 million children live in low-income households in Canada. As only 77 % des enfants font du sport, le nombre total d’enfants évalués se chiffre à 1,1 million.
  • Soixante minutes d’activité modérée à vigoureuse per day are encouraged for children ages 5-19, where vigorous activity largely comes from structured play.
  • A review of initial related research for the 16 weeks from March to early July 2020, suggests that 7.7 million hours of activity were lost for every week that sports were shut down, equating to 123 millions d’heures of lost activity.
  • Over the summer of 2020 most organizations were operating at about 50% capacity, so of the estimated 1.1 million children active in sports, 50% had access while the others did not. Over the seven weeks from July to August, this equals an estimated 35 millions d’heures supplémentaires of lost activity.
  • At the start of the 2020-21 school year until December, while programs started opening in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec were largely closed. Using similar rationales noted above, we can infer that an additional 116 millions d’heures of activity were lost.
Un graphique indiquant le nombre total d’heures de jeu perdues en 2020. De mars au début juillet, 126 002 028 d’heures ont été perdues. En juillet et août, 35 438 070 d’heures ont été perdues. Et de septembre à décembre, 116 148 871 d’heures ont été perdues. Au total, 277 588 970 d’heures ont été perdues en 2020.Un graphique indiquant le nombre total d’heures de jeu perdues en 2020. De mars au début juillet, 126 002 028 d’heures ont été perdues. En juillet et août, 35 438 070 d’heures ont été perdues. Et de septembre à décembre, 116 148 871 d’heures ont été perdues. Au total, 277 588 970 d’heures ont été perdues en 2020.

Que faire maintenant?

The impact of this is significant, and undoubtedly broad. The long-term physical and mental health impacts on our nation’s youth may not emerge for years. Will children return to what they enjoyed prior to the pandemic or have new habits been formed that don’t include vigorous activity? Will online programming prove to be a suitable replacement for the face-to-face model used pre-pandemic? Will the organizations that provided programs for low-income families remain solvent during the restart or have many simply disbanded never to return? Some researchers have suggested that sport clubs will have to offer less structured programming, promote social connections over competition and steer away from contact sports. We may also see a reduction in programming and more outdoor versus indoor options. 

Written by Guest Authors:

David Legg, Ph.D.
Chair, Calgary Adapted Hub
Professor, Department of Health and Physical Education, Mount Royal University

Cheri L. Bradish, Ph.D.
Founder/Managing Director, Future of Sport Lab (FSL)
Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management

Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements sur l’impact de la COVID-19 sur la participation sportive, veuillez consulter les ressources suivantes :

United Nations: The impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and well-being and its effects on social development

Canadian Women & Sport: L’impact de la pandémie sur les filles dans le sport

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