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Health Rep. 2017 Oct 18;28(10):8-16.

Physical activity of Canadian children and youth, 2007 to 2015.

Author information

Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.



This study describes and compares the percentages of Canadian children and youth who adhere to different operational definitions of the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) recommendation of 60 minutes per day.


Data for 6- to 17-year-olds (n = 5,608) were collected from 2007 through 2015 as part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey. MVPA was measured using the Actical accelerometer. The MVPA recommendation was operationalized as accumulating 60 minutes of MVPA every day, on most days, and on average.


Data from the most recent cycle of the Canadian Health Measures Survey indicate that 7% of children and youth accumulated at least 60 minutes of MVPA on at least 6 out of 7 days, and 33% achieved a weekly average of at least 60 minutes per day. Boys accumulated more MVPA than did girls, and 6- to 11-year-olds accumulated more MVPA than did 12- to 17-year-olds. Regardless of how adherence to the recommendation is operationalized, MVPA levels among Canadian children and youth did not change over the 9-year period from 2007 to 2015.


The majority of Canadian children do not meet the physical activity recommendation, regardless of the operational definition used. However, the discrepancies between results based on different interpretations of the 60-minutes-per-day recommendation highlight the importance of explicitly reporting how recommendations are operationalized to avoid misinterpreting trends and comparisons.


Accelerometer; benchmarking; exercise; health surveys; moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; movement

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