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Health Rep. 2010 Mar;21(1):21-35.

Fitness of Canadian adults: results from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey.

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Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T6.



Estimates of obesity, based on body mass index (BMI) reveal that Canadian adults have become heavier over the past quarter century. However, a comprehensive assessment of fitness requires additional measures. This article provides up-to-date estimates of fitness levels of Canadians aged 20 to 69 years. Results are compared with estimates from 1981.


Data are from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). Historical estimates are from the 1981 Canada Fitness Survey. Means, medians and cross-tabulations were used to compare fitness levels by sex and age group and between survey years.


Mean scores for aerobic fitness, flexibility, muscular endurance and muscular strength declined at older ages, and BMI, waist circumference, skinfold measurements and waist-to-hip ratio increased. Males had higher scores than females for aerobic fitness, muscular endurance and muscular strength; females had higher scores for flexibility. Muscular strength and flexibility decreased between 1981 and 2007-2009; BMI, waist circumference and skinfold measurements increased.


Based on results of the fitness tests and anthropometric measurements, many Canadian adults face health risks due to suboptimal fitness levels.

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