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Rising obesity rates and declining fitness levels have increased interest in understanding what underlies these trends. This article presents the first directly measured data on physical activity and sedentary behaviour on a nationally representative sample of Canadians aged 20 to 79 years.
Data and methods
Data are from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). Physical activity was measured using accelerometry. Data are presented as time spent in sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous intensity movement as well as steps accumulated per day.
An estimated 15% of Canadian adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week; 5% accumulate 150 minutes per week as at least 30 minutes of MVPA on 5 or more days a week. Men are more active than women and MVPA declines with increasing age and adiposity. Canadian adults are sedentary for approximately 9.5 hours per day (69% of waking hours). Men accumulate an average of 9,500 steps per day and women, 8,400 steps per day. The 10,000-steps-per-day target is achieved by 35% of adults.
Before the CHMS, objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour were not available for a representative sample of Canadians. The findings indicate that 85% of adults are not active enough to meet Canada's new physical activity recommendation.
Actical, exercise health measurement, motor activity, pedometer, physical fitness, public health, obesity, sedentary behaviour
Regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, stress and anxiety. As well, strong evidence suggests that higher levels of physical activity are associated with health benefits; in fact, the more activity, the greater the health benefit. To determine whether Canadians are sufficiently active to obtain health benefits, the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) used accelerometers to collect the first time-sequenced objective measures of physical activity for a nationally representative sample of 6- to 79-year-olds.[Full text]
Rachel C. Colley (613-737-7600 ext.4118; firstname.lastname@example.org) is with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada. Didier Garriguet (613-951-7187; Didier.Garriguet@statcan.gc.ca) is with the Health Analysis Division and Janine Clarke is with the Physical Health Measures Division at Statistics Canada. Ian Janssen is with Queen's University. Cora L. Craig is with the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute. Mark Tremblay is with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the University of Ottawa.
- Over the past 25 years, the prevalence of obesity has increased among Canadian adults.
- According to self-report estimates, 52.5% of Canadian adults are physically active.
- Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is associated with health benefits.
- Sedentary behaviour is emerging as a negative contributor to health.
- An estimated 15.4% of Canadian adults accumulate 150 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous MVPA in 10-minute bouts per week, and 4.8% do so at least 30 minutes on at least 5 days.
- A third of Canadian adults accumulate an average of 10,000 or more steps per day.
- On average, men accumulate 27 minutes a day of MVPA, and women, 21 minutes.
- Regardless of age group, men engage in more MVPA than do women.
- Men and women spend about 9.5 of their waking hours being sedentary.
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