Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play

Posted on March 8, 2015 by CCA Communications Committee

Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, working with twenty-one Canadian experts representing seventeen organizations, has prepared a draft Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play.

They are seeking feedback on the clarity of the Position Statement from YOU, a professional whose work is connected to children’s active outdoor play.

Dear Friends,

You are being invited to participate in a survey soliciting your opinion on the draft Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play, prepared by a group of 17 concerned Canadian organizations. You are being invited to participate because you are a practitioner whose work is in some way connected with children’s outdoor active play. In the past few decades, the prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours among children in Canada has risen, and children are spending more time indoors and less time outdoors and with nature. A recent systematic review completed by our group uncovered strong evidence that children who spend more time outdoors have higher physical activity and lower sedentary behaviour levels. A second systematic review completed by our group showed that various forms of active outdoor play (e.g., independent mobility) are related to increased physical activity, decreased sedentary behaviour, and improved social outcomes in children. Despite these benefits of outdoor active and even risky play, the potential harms perceived to be associated with increased time in nature and the outdoors appear to be swinging the pendulum to a point where healthy child development may be at risk – ironically in an attempt to actually reduce risk.

Related to this, we brought together previously fractious/dissenting groups in the health promotion community to work constructively together for the promotion of childhood health and wellness. As a result, a group of 21 Canadian experts, representing 17 organizations, convened to examine the best available evidence on outdoor and risky active play and develop an evidence-informed position statement. This Position Statement outlines the evidence, and provides our recommendations for action. As the final stage in the development of this Position Statement we are seeking to gain feedback about the clarity of the Position Statement, as well as level of agreement, perceived importance, and support for the Position Statement from a large number of practitioners in the fields represented by each of the contributing collaborators (e.g., parks, green cities, pediatricians, physical activity).

Click on the link below for more information on the survey and instructions on how to get started.  Thanks for your time!

We encourage you to circulate the survey link to your colleagues and among your networks. This stakeholder survey will be open until March 15, 2015. 

Participation in this survey is voluntary. By accessing and completing this survey you are giving your implied/passive consent to participate in the survey. The survey does not collect information about your name or email address and responses will be presented in group format only. A summary of findings will be available on the HALO website ( once the results have been published and will also be sent to participating organizations for distribution to members. If you have any questions about this study, please contact Dr. Mark Tremblay at 613-737-7600 ext 4114 or The CHEO Research Ethics Board (REB) has reviewed this protocol. The REB considers ethical aspects of all research studies involving human participants at the CHEO and its Research Institute. If you have any questions about your rights as a study participant, you may contact the CHEO REB Chairperson at 613-737-7600 ext 3624. Note: This Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play is in draft form and not intended for general circulation