Play Comox Valley to develop physical literacy

The Comox Valley is one of four Island locations chosen by PacificSport to develop physical literacy in the community. The idea is to positively impact health and well-being among residents.

The project is funded by Sport For Life, which defines physical literacy as ‘the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.’

“How do we get everyone — from our youth, middle age folks, senior adults — more comfortable with movement and the benefits that come from being more physically active?” Drew Cooper, general manager of PacificSport Vancouver Island, said Monday at Courtenay committee of the whole.

He said two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese. As a consequence, issues resulting from obesity and inactivity cause the health care system to eat up 40 per cent of the provincial budget.

“That figure has grown by eight per cent a year,” Cooper said.

A 2011 World Bank study concluded that children born in 2009 are not likely to live as long as those born in the previous year.

A 2014 study of 5,700 children, ages 10 and 11, showed that girls outperformed boys in just three of 18 fundamental movement skills: hopping, skipping and galloping.

“That demonstrates to us that there’s some significant conditions within our society that treats girls differently than we do boys,” Cooper said. “That needs to be addressed.”

This is where Play Comox Valley comes in, along with similar initiatives in Cowichan, Campbell River and Oceanside. In an effort to turn things around, PacificSport is working with teachers and other community members to encourage people to get off the couch and to get moving.

PacificSport is asking Courtenay to:

1. Recognize the multi-faceted approach to the issue;

2. Get up to speed;

3. Consider how to make physical literacy part of the community ethos.

Mayor Bob Wells mentioned that Glacier View Lodge organized an expedition for some of its residents to tube the Puntledge River last summer.

“This (physical literacy) is a movement,” Cooper said. “This was started by the Sport For Life folks. It’s a worldwide movement that’s grown rapidly in about seven years.”

PacificSport will host a local event about physical literacy Nov. 21.

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