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Changes in indicators of child and youth physical activity in Canada, 2005–2016

Abstract

Physical activity trend analysis enables the monitoring and surveillance of physical activity indicators and the identification of areas that should be targeted for intervention and promotion, which is particularly important at present because so few school-aged children and youth in Canada adhere to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth. In this commentary, we demonstrate through a descriptive temporal trend analysis of grade changes in the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth that there have been positive changes in several indicators of physical activity support (family, school, community and environment, government, non-government) in Canada over the last 12 years. However, these changes have seldom resulted in the desired behavioural-level modifications or been associated with any meaningful increase in the prevalence of children and youth meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth. This suggests that physical activity intervention and promotion efforts may need to focus more on directly targeting the physical activity behaviours of Canadian children and youth, or that alternate approaches are required.

Résumé

L’analyse des tendances de l’activité physique permet de contrôler et de surveiller les indicateurs d’activité physique et de déterminer les aspects à cibler à des fins d’intervention et de promotion, ce qui est particulièrement important à l’heure actuelle du fait que si peu d’enfants d’âge scolaire et de jeunes au Canada respectent les Directives canadiennes en matière d’activité physique à l’intention des enfants et des jeunes. Dans notre commentaire, nous démontrons, à partir d’une analyse descriptive des tendances temporelles des notes attribuées dans le Bulletin canadien de l’activité physique chez les jeunes de ParticipACTION, qu’il y a eu des changements positifs dans plusieurs indicateurs de soutien à l’activité physique (famille, école, communauté et environnement, gouvernement, non-gouvernement) au Canada au cours des 12 dernières années. Ces changements ont toutefois rarement entraîné les modifications comportementales souhaitées ou été associés à des hausses concrètes de la prévalence du respect des Directives canadiennes en matière d’activité physique à l’intention des enfants et des jeunes par les enfants et les jeunes. Cela indique que les efforts d’intervention et de promotion de l’activité physique pourraient devoir cibler plus directement les habitudes d’activité physique des enfants et des jeunes canadiens, ou que des démarches parallèles sont nécessaires.

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Author information

Correspondence to Joel D. Barnes MSc.

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Conflict of Interest: None to declare.

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Barnes, J.D., Tremblay, M.S. Changes in indicators of child and youth physical activity in Canada, 2005–2016. Can J Public Health 107, e586–e589 (2016) doi:10.17269/CJPH.107.5645

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Key Words

  • Assessment
  • surveillance
  • monitoring
  • evaluation
  • sedentary
  • play
  • sport

Mots Clés

  • appréciation
  • surveillance
  • contrôle
  • évaluation
  • sédentaire
  • jeu
  • sport