Jean-François Harvey (JFH): This is very worrying, because these data show us that young people are now mainly in a risk zone. The chances are much higher that they will one day suffer from cardiovascular diseases, and this, earlier in their lives. A lot of studies tell us that young people born after the year 2000 will live shorter lives and live sick longer. This will not only affect individuals, but it will also represent a huge cost to society.
Pierre Lavoie (PL): In fact, this study scientifically highlights the fact that we are not going in the right direction, and that as a society, as parents, as a government, we must take action.
PL: We specialize too much. In Quebec, we love sports studies, monosport. Does the young person who is in sports studies or who specializes very early remain active later? We now know that the answer is no.
And we wouldn’t produce fewer champions; the countries that have this approach – Slovenia, Finland, Denmark – are lecturing us internationally.
JFH: Our approach is too focused on sport and performance, and not enough on physical activity, period. This excludes a good portion of young people. And young people who seem to end up in elite sport too often fall into a toxic environment. There are a lot more injuries, sports burnout, dropping out… In the end, we lose on both fronts.
PL: The goal is to give young people the tools that will allow them to remain active for the rest of their lives. The Scandinavians tell us that the best time to do it is before the age of 14. That’s where it happens. Parents need to know this. »
JFH: It’s all the know-how that is linked to movement, and it starts in early childhood: walking, climbing, running, throwing, catching, kicking. When we have these skills, it allows us to develop so-called sporting skills. And that means that we will be able, during our lives, to do a multitude of activities. A young person who, from early childhood, is too often in front of a screen and never outside does not develop these skills. He leaves with a major deficiency.
PL: Already in primary school, physical education teachers welcome young people who have missed an important window between 0 and 6 years old. The CPE works a lot on fine motor skills, and now, we also need to work on gross motor skills.
JFH: The approach needs to be changed on multiple levels, but indeed, parents serve as role models.
Our book also talks about the role of municipalities and governments. Teachers and physical educators must also change their approach, but also the school.
PL: We must stop imitating the model of the United States, which is exclusionary, only takes care of the good ones, and is experiencing a public health catastrophe. […] Let’s create our Quebec model and let it evolve. I am convinced that we will have more players in the National Hockey League and more Olympians, but that we will also have health for the entire population.