Generational Divide: Teens Spending Less than Half the Time their Parents did on Outdoor Activities

ParticipACTION Teen Challenge encourages teens to #BeAnOutsider
and get moving outdoors

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new study of Canadian parents and teens found that teens are spending
only 7.9 hours per week being active outdoors – less than half of the
17.5 hours their parents spent participating in outdoor activities just
a generation earlier.

The survey, conducted by Hill + Knowlton Perspectives, points to growing
motivational and cultural barriers to explain why teens are spending
more time indoors. Sixty per cent of parents identified interest in
indoor activities such as video games and social media as the leading
barrier to getting their teens outside, followed by the influence of the
teen’s friends. Lack of opportunity and infrastructure were key
secondary barriers cited, including access to activities and the high
cost of organized sports. Only one in five survey respondents said they
place a high priority on spending time being active outdoors as a family.

“Regular physical activity, including time spent being active outdoors,
can help teens reduce the risk of chronic disease, make friends, improve
self-esteem, confidence and mental health, and even improve
concentration and their grades. Unfortunately, only five per cent of 12-
to 17-year-olds are getting the 60 minutes of heart-pumping movement
they need each day,” says Elio Antunes, President and CEO of
ParticipACTION, a national non-profit organization that helps Canadians
sit less and move more.

In response, ParticipACTION Teen Challenge sponsored by Coca-Cola Canada
has launched the #BeAnOutsider challenge. From October 5 to November 6,
teens and community organizations who Tweet or Instagram a photo of
themselves getting active outdoors with the hashtag #BeAnOutsider will
be entered to win weekly prizes including Canadian Tire gift cards and
ParticipACTION prize packs. For more information, visit

Despite the decline in time spent outdoors, 90 per cent of the parents
surveyed agreed that being active outdoors is very good for the mental
and physical health of teens. The recent ParticipACTION Report Card on
Physical Activity for Children and Youth found that people who are more
connected to nature tend to be happier1. Positive experiences
at a young age can foster nature connectedness and influence behaviours
like time spent outdoors and participation in heart-pumping physical

Teens who participated in the survey understood the benefits of outdoor
activity and appreciated the outdoors as an escape, but also for
spending time with friends and being competitive and active.

“Being outside is different. There’s competitiveness, but it can also
take the edge off from school or work,” said Shantaro, 18, from Toronto,

“[Outdoor activities with family] give time to think and talk about
everything,” said Riley, 14 from St. Albert, AB.

“There are so many green areas here, but there isn’t always something to
do with them. Having games and sports available would be fun,” said
Connor, 14 from Red Deer, AB.

ParticipACTION Teen Challenge provides microgrants of up to $500 for
13-19 year-olds to get physically active in their communities through
programs that the teens help design themselves. The grants have paid for
everything from basketball coaches to breakdancing instructors,
pedometers for a walking club, transportation to ski hills, prizes for
leadership events, tournament entrance fees and necessary equipment,
such as Kin-Balls, kayak rentals or team jerseys. To date,
ParticipACTION Teen Challenge has encouraged over 400,000 teens and
5,000 community organizations to work together to design local

“There’s a clear need for programs like the ParticipACTION Teen
Challenge to help youth find the resources and tools to be active in
their community,” says Yolanda Dasselaar, Senior Manager of Company and
Category Sustainability at Coca-Cola Ltd.

ParticipACTION Teen Challenge is funded by a 10-year, $10 million
commitment from Coca-Cola Canada, and is delivered through a unique
network of 13 provincial-territorial coordinating organizations, which
in turn support community organizations at the local level.

For more information about ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, sponsored by
Coca-Cola Canada, including over 500 local teen success stories, please

About ParticipACTION

ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization that helps
Canadians sit less and move more. Originally established in 1971,
ParticipACTION works with its partners, which include sport, physical
activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors,
to make physical activity a vital part of everyday life. ParticipACTION
is generously supported by the Government of Canada. For more
information, please visit

About Coca-Cola Canada

Coca-Cola in Canada operates in all ten provinces, and employs 6,300
people in more than 50 facilities, including seven production facilities
across Canada. We offer a wide variety of beverage brands, many of which
come in no-calorie and low-calorie options. These beverages include
sparkling soft drinks, still waters, juices and fruit beverages, sports
drinks, energy drinks and ready-to-drink teas. We’re proud to offer some
of the most popular brands in Canada including Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®,
Coca-Cola Zero®, Sprite®, Fanta®, Nestea®, PowerAde®, Minute Maid®,
Dasani® and vitaminwater®. Coca-Cola in Canada is represented by
Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada and Coca-Cola Ltd. For more information
about our Company, please visit

On social media:

Twitter: @CocaColaCo_CA; @ParticipACTION

1 The Biggest Risk is Keeping Kids Indoors. The
ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.
Toronto: ParticipACTION. URL:
2015: 41.


Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Dominique Dorais
W: 416-413-4582
W: 416-913-1471
M: 647-717-8674
Refreshments Canada
Shannon Denny
W: 416-424-6373