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Health Rep. 2011 Mar;22(1):7-14.

Physical activity of Canadian adults: accelerometer results from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey.

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Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada.



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 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.

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