Just 13 per cent of preschool children and 9.5 per cent of children and teens are meeting Canada's 24-hour Movement Guidelines.
Only eight per cent of Canadian adults are doing 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week.
Adults over 65 are doing a little better — 14 per cent of them are meeting those guidelines.
"There's two returns on investment here," says Dean Kriellaars, with the department of physical therapy at the University of Manitoba. He has practised, researched and taught physical literacy for more than a decade.
"First is the health-related equity that happens if you increase they physical literacy of the population. And then safety and activity levels, you then get dramatic reductions in costs."
In 2013, the World Health Organization estimated the global cost of physical inactivity was approximately $ 54 billion US in direct health care, plus another $ 14 billion in lost productivity.
It accounts for up to three per cent of national health-care costs, and that doesn't include mental health and disorders such as repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.
More than 40 non-communicable diseases including breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes and strokes can be related to what Kriellaars describes as a global physical inactivity epidemic.
"Our society has to change. Our valuing of movement has to change, in our workplace, in our schools, where movement will be as important as reading and writing," he says.
"Physical literacy has a physical component, a social component and a psychological component. It's really about creating that holistic picture of a child and saying we need all three of those working together."
Exercise physiologist Dean Kriellaars hops in one of his movement labs at the University of Manitoba. He trains athletes of all ability levels, educates health-care professionals, coaches, trainers, and educators about physical literacy and healthy lifestyles. (Trevor Brine/CBC)
Chevalier sees a strong future for movement programs in schools. "I think a lot of schools are embracing opportunity for choice in seating in the classrooms, and this just directly complements that concept."
Her advice for education professionals?
"You need to do your homework. You need to sit down with your occupational therapist. You need to sit down with your experts in the building from phys-ed background and really chat about what your students need," she says.
Students travel the Sensory Path at Roland School. (Brett Purdy/CBC)