Preschoolers spend a substantial portion of their day in childcare; therefore, these centers are an ideal venue to encourage healthy active behaviors. It is important that provinces’/territories’ childcare legislation encourage physical activity (PA) opportunities. The purpose of this study was to review Canadian provincial/territorial childcare legislation regarding PA participation. Specifically, this review sought to 1) appraise each provincial/territorial childcare regulation for PA requirements, 2) compare such regulations with the NASPE PA guidelines, and 3) appraise these regulations regarding PA infrastructure.
A review of all provincial/territorial childcare legislation was performed. Each document was reviewed separately by 2 researchers, and the PA regulations were coded and summarized. The specific provincial/territorial PA requirements (eg, type/frequency of activity) were compared with the NASPE guidelines.
PA legislation for Canadian childcare facilities varies greatly. Eight of the thirteen provinces/territories provide PA recommendations; however, none provided specific time requirements for daily PA. All provinces/territories did require access to an outdoor play space.
All Canadian provinces/territories lack specific PA guidelines for childcare facilities. The development, implementation, and enforcement of national PA legislation for childcare facilities may aid in tackling the childhood obesity epidemic and assist childcare staff in supporting and encouraging PA participation.