7.7.11 Percentage of First Nations children aged 12 to 17 years participating in physical activities, by type of activity and gender, Canada, 2008/2010

Martial arts Snowshoeing Aerobics or fitness classes Canoeing or kayaking Using weights/exercise equipment Golfing Skiing or snowboarding Hunting or trapping Hiking Bowling Gardening or yard work Fishing Competitive or team sports Skating Dancing (traditional, moderns, etc.) Berry picking or food gathering Bicycling or mountain biking Running or jogging Swimming Walking
Boys 7.3 7.3 5.3 14 46 21.1 19.8 30.4 21.9 17 23.6 40 59.5 37.4 13.6 22 50.6 63.1 54 83.3
Girls 4.9 5.7 8.6 10.5 25.7 7.3 14.1 7.7 16.5 15.5 15.6 19.3 46.4 22.6 34.4 26.6 38.2 58.2 55.3 90.6

Source: CICH graphics created using data adapted from the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) 2008/10, National report on adults, youth and children living in First Nations Communities.

First Nations youth aged 12 to 17 are most likely to engage in walking, running or jogging, swimming, and competitive sports when being physically active.

However, there are differences between boys and girls. In general, boys are more physical active than are girls.

Boys are more likely to participate in skating, competitive or team sports, fishing, gardening or yard work, hiking, hunting/trapping, skiing/snowboarding, golfing and using weights or exercise equipment than are girls.

Girls are more likely to participate in walking, swimming, berry picking and dancing than are boys.

Physical activity can positively impact the body, mind, heart, and spirit of Aboriginal youth. Physical activity can provide positive developmental opportunities for Indigenous youth strengthen resiliency, improve all aspects of health, and promote culture and education. It can also address such negative influences as social exclusion, racism and bullying. It is important that physical activity opportunities for Indigenous children and youth promote Indigenous values and utilize Indigenous knowledge and expertise. There can be significant barriers to physical activity for young people in First Nations communities – including poor weather, lack of infrastructure, lack of funding to support programs, lack of human resources to lead programs, presence of wildlife, and safety issues, among others.

Source: Bruner, M.W., Hillier, S., Baillie, C.P.T., Lavallee, L.F., Bruner, B.G., Hare, K., Lovelace, R., & Lévesque, L. (2016). Positive youth development in Aboriginal physical activity and sport: A systematic review. Adolescent Research Review, 1(3), 257-69.