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What does this study add?
Physical activity is an important determinant of health and fitness. This study provides contemporary estimates of the physical activity levels of Canadians aged 6 to 19 years.
Data and methods
Data are from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. The physical activity of a nationally representative sample was measured using accelerometers. Data are presented as time spent in sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous intensity movement, and in steps accumulated per day.
An estimated 9% of boys and 4% of girls accumulate 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 6 days a week. Regardless of age group, boys are more active than girls. Canadian children and youth spend 8.6 hours per day—62% of their waking hours—in sedentary pursuits. Daily step counts average 12,100 for boys and 10,300 for girls.
Based on objective and robust measures, physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth are low.
Actical, pedometer, sedentary behaviour, obesity, public health, motion sensor
Growing evidence indicates that the health of Canadian children has deteriorated in the past few decades. Childhood obesity has risen sharply—a quarter of children and youth are now overweight or obese—and physical fi tness has declined. Yet paradoxically, according to self-reported data, the majority of Canadian youth are suffi ciently active. The contrast between current obesity and fi tness trends and high levels of self-reported physical activity suggests a need for more objective monitoring of activity levels. The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) used accelerometers to collect time-sequenced data on physical activity and sedentary behaviour for a nationally representative sample that included children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years. [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.email@example.com) 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.
- Low levels of physical activity and increased time devoted to sedentary pursuits are associated with childhood obesity.
- Obesity is rising and fitness is declining among Canadian children and youth.
- Yet according to self-reports, the majority of young Canadians are at least moderately active.
- Boys and girls are sedentary about 8.5 hours a day.
- About 7% of Canadian children and youth accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least 6 days a week.
- On average, boys engage in an hour of MVPA per day, and girls, three-quarters of an hour.
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