Encouraging families to help their children to become physically active is an important goal, and one that is becoming increasingly important. With Childhood Obesity growing at an increasing rate the Government of Canada has launched the Children’s Fitness Tax Benefit.
Why is childhood obesity important?
Obesity matters. Excess fat is not merely unfashionable, it’s dangerous. In the young it can cause poor self esteem and be socially isolating. In adulthood it can often lead to serious illness and premature death.
Unfortunately, between 10 and 15% of our children are obese. And obesity in childhood often leads to obesity in adulthood. Most parents want the best for their children – including the chance to lead a long and healthy life. For obese children this goal is seriously threatened.
Obesity in a child leads to joint problems. It can also cause difficulty in breathing while asleep – sleep apnea. Even more importantly, extra weight is extraordinarily difficult to take off – whether you’re a child or an adult! And obese teenagers almost always become obese adults. This is very bad news.
As of January 1, 2007, the Government of Canada will allow a non-refundable tax credit on eligible amounts of up to $500 paid by parents to register a child (under the age of 16) in an eligible program of physical activity.
In order to qualify for the tax credit a program must be:
- ongoing (either a minimum of eight weeks duration with a minimum of one session per week or, in the case of children’s camps, five consecutive days);
- suitable for children; and
- substantially all of the activities must include a significant amount of physical activity that contributes to cardio-respiratory endurance plus one or more of: muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, or balance.
Remember to ask the organization or community group for a tax reciept once your child has enrolled in the program. You will not need to submit receipts when you file your tax return, but you must keep them in case Revenue Canada ask for them when verifying your claim.
For information Canada Revenue Agency website for updates. Check out the Children’s Ftiness Tax website. For more information on childhood obesity prevention please check out the Childhood Obesity Foundation website.
Information provided by the Canada Revenue Agency and the Childhood Obesity Foundation.