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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 59–63 | Cite as

Twenty-year Trends in Physical Activity Among Canadian Adults

  • Cora L. Craig
  • Storm J. Russell
  • Christine Cameron
  • Adrian Bauman
Article

Abstract

Objective

Physical inactivity is associated with increased risk of mortality and chronic diseases, yet trend information is lacking in most countries. This investigation examines physical activity levels of Canadian adults aged 18 years and older.

Methods

Data were collected in six national surveys between 1981 and 2000. Sample sizes ranged from 2,500 to 18,000. Prevalences were tested using Chi-square and Student’s t-tests. Socio-demographic correlates were examined using odds ratios adjusted for age, sex, education and income.

Results

Physical activity increased in the 1980s and 1990s among men and women and for all age, education and income groups (p<0.01). Although education differentials narrowed over the period, age differentials widened and income differentials emerged.

Discussion

The positive trend in Canada is consistent with Finland, but contrary to recent trends for Australia, England and the United States. Despite increases, sedentary living remains a public health issue particularly among women, older adults and lower income groups.

Résumé

Objectif

La sédentarité a beau être associée à un risque accru de mortalité et de maladie chronique, la plupart des pays n’ont pas d’information tendancielle sur la question. Notre étude porte sur les niveaux d’activité physique des Canadiens adultes (18 ans et plus).

Méthode

Les données proviennent de six enquêtes nationales menées entre 1981 et 2000 auprès d’échantillons de 2 500 à 18 000 personnes. Les taux de prévalence ont été testés par les méthodes du khi-carré et du test t de Student. Les corrélats socio-démographiques ont été analysés à l’aide de rapports de cotes ajustés selon l’âge, le sexe, le niveau d’instruction et le revenu.

Résultats

L’activité physique a augmenté dans les années 1980 et 1990 chez les hommes et les femmes et pour l’ensemble des groupes d’âge, des niveaux d’instruction et des catégories de revenu (p<0,01). Les écarts liés à l’instruction ont rétréci au cours de la période, mais ceux liés à l’âge se sont creusés, et des écarts liés au revenu sont apparus.

Discussion

La tendance haussière au Canada est conforme à celle que l’on retrouve en Finlande, mais va dans le sens contraire des tendances observées récemment en Australie, en Angleterre et aux États-Unis. Malgré les hausses, la sédentarité demeure un problème de santé publique, surtout chez les femmes, les personnes âgées, et dans les catégories de revenu inférieures.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cora L. Craig
    • 1
  • Storm J. Russell
    • 2
  • Christine Cameron
    • 1
  • Adrian Bauman
    • 3
  1. 1.Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  2. 2.SJR Research ConsultantsOttawaCanada
  3. 3.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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