Being physically active is an important part of being healthy. Unfortunately, many Canadians are not active enough to reduce their risk of a range of health issues including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes and some cancers.
What you will find
These resources provide Canadian and international information to help you plan programs that promote physical activity. For more information, please visit the Best Practices section for interventions related to physical activity.
A first step to planning a program or policy change on physical activity is to understand the topic through surveillance data:
- Chronic Disease Infobase Data Cubes, interactive database. Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute Publications, population studies, surveys and bulletins.
- Are Canadian Kids Too Tired to move? The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. 2016 (PDF document), ParticipACTION.
- Moving ahead: Workplace interventions to reduce physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour, Conference Board of Canada, 2015.
- Health Reports – Comparison of Physical Activity Adult Questionnaire results with accelerometer data (PDF document), Statistics Canada (2015).
- Health Reports – Are the fittest Canadian adults the healthiest?, Statistic Canada (2014).
- Directly measured physical activity of adults, 2012 and 2013, Health fact sheet. Statistic Canada (2013).
- Directly measured physical activity of children and youth, 2012 and 2013, Health fact sheet. Statistic Canada (2013).
- Health Fact Sheet: Directly measured physical activity of Canadian Adults, 2007-2011 (PDF document), Statistic Canada (2013).
- Directly measured physical activity of Canadian children and youth, 2007 to 2011, Statistics Canada (2013).
- Physical activity during leisure time, by age group and sex, data tables and maps. Statistics Canada (2014).
- Sport participation 2010: Research paper (PDF document), Heritage Canada (2013).
- Geographical indicators of the Built Environment and Services environment influencing physical activity, diet and body weight (PDF document), Institut national de santé publique du Québec (2009).
- Physical activity during leisure time, by sex, provinces and territories table with percentage data, 2010-2014, table with percentage data. Statistics Canada (2015).
- Alberta Survey on Physical Activity (PDF document), Alberta Centre for Active Living (2017).
- 2013 Alberta Survey on Physical Activity: A concise report, Alberta Centre for Active Living.
- Adolescent girls’ motivation to engage in various physical activity environments (PDF document), Alberta Centre for Active Living (2015).
- Moving ahead: The economic impact of reducing physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour, Alberta Centre for Active Living (2015).
- Keeping pace: Physical activity and healthy eating among children and youth: Key findings from the 2009-2010 study (PDF Document), Department of Health and Wellness (2012).
- Nunavut physical activity guidelines for different age groups Government of Nunavut.
- 900,000 days in hospital: the annual impact of smoking, alcohol, diet and physical activity on hospital use in Ontario, Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) (2014).
- Seven more years: The impact of smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress on health and life expectancy in Ontario, Public Health Ontario and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (2012).
- Health behaviours: Self-reported physical activity, Public Health Ontario.
- Initial report on public health: Physical activity index, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (2009).
- Evolution for Québec: Lifestyle practices and behaviours. Physical activity during Leisure, Santéscope, Institut national de santé publique (2012).
- Eurobarometer 334: Sport and physical activity (PDF document), European Commission (2009).
- Activity levels in New Zealand, Government of New Zealand.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Health at a glance 2013 Chapter 2: Physical activity among children.
- State indicator report on physical activity (PDF document), National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014).
- Youth risk behavior surveillance system: Physical activity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
World Health Organization
- WHO Global Infobase online database
- Physical activity: Why pay attention to this issue? Health Behaviours in School-Aged Children (2012).
- Physical activity fact sheet (2015)
- Level the playing field: A natural progression from playground to podium or Canadians with disabilities (PDF document), Standing Committee on Human Rights, House of Commons, Parliament of Canada (2012).
- Canadian priorities for addressing obesity as a cancer and chronic disease risk factor (PDF document), Nutrition and Physical Activity Policy Alignment in Action Initiative, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2010).
- Physical activity approaches at the ground-level: Promising practices targeting Aboriginal children and youth (PDF document), National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (2011).
- Active Alberta 2011-2021, Government of Alberta.
- Nutrition and physical activity situational analysis: A resource to guide chronic disease prevention in Alberta (PDF document), Alberta Health Services (2010).
- Manitoba in motion, Provincial Strategy, Government of Manitoba.
- Communities in action: Active communities branch strategic plan 2012-2016 (PDF document), Government of New Brunswick.
- Live well, be well: New Brunswick’s wellness strategy 2009-2013 (PDF document), Government of New Brunswick.
- A sport plan for New Brunswick, One day…(PDF document), Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport (2008).
- Building on existing tools to improve chronic disease prevention and screening in primary care (BETTER), Government of Northwest Territories.
- Strategic plan 2012-2015: Physical activity, sport and recreation (PDF document), Ministry of Health and Wellness (2012).
- Developing healthy communities (PDF document), Department of Health and Social Services (2008-2013).
- A review of workplace and community interventions for adults: Effects on physical activity, eating behaviors and BMI-risk factors for Diabetes (PDF document), Public Health Ontario (2011).
Prince Edward Island
- Physical activity strategy for Prince Edward Island (PDF document), Department of Community and Cultural Affairs (2004-2009).
- Prince Edward Island Strategy for healthy living (PDF document), Department of Health and Social Services.
- Le gout et le plaisir de bouger : Vers un politique nationale du sport, du loisir et de l’activité physique (PDF document) (French only). A first step of collaborative consultations with the aim of developing a national policy on sport, recreation and physical activity. Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport (2013).
- Active Yukon: Enriching lives through physical activity, recreation and sport; Yukon active living strategy (PDF document), Government of Yukon (renewed 2012).
- A healthy and active Australia – Healthy communities initiative – Quality framework, Government of Australia (2012).
- The North Karelia Project in Finland: A societal shift favouring healthy lifestyles (PDF document), Institut national de santé publique du Québec (2013).
- Tackling physical inactivity-A coordinated approach (PDF document), United Kingdom, All Party Commission on Physical Activity (2014).
- Creating an active Wales (PDF document), Welsh Assembly Government (2009).
- Healthy eating, active living: An action plan to improve diet, increase physical activity and tackle obesity (PDF document), Government of Scotland (2008-2011).
- National physical activity plan (PDF document), National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (2016).
- Step it up! The Surgeon General’s call to action to promote walking and walkable communities (PDF document), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General (2015).
World Health Organisation
- Canadian physical activity guidelines and Canadian sedentary behaviour guidelines, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (2011).
- Supportive environments for physical activity: How the built environment affects our health, Public Health Agency of Canada (2011).
- Ontario healthy eating, physical activity, and healthy weights guidance document (PDF document), Ministry of Health Promotion Ontario (2010).
- Inspiring movement: Towards comprehensive school community health: Guidelines for physical activity in Saskatchewan schools, Saskatchewan Ministry of Education (2010).
- Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines , Department of Health.
- Guidelines on physical activity for older people (aged 65 years and over), Ministry of Health (2013).
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Everybody active, every day: An evidence-based approach to physical activity (PDF document), Public Health England (2014).
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
- Exercise referral schemes to promote physical activity (2014).
- Guidance on the promotion and creation of physical environments that support increased levels of physical activity (2010).
- Promoting physical activity for children and young people (2009).
- Promoting physical activity in the workplace (2008).
- Chronic Disease Series – Physical activity, training module from the U.S. Center for Training and Research Translation.
- 2008 Physical activity guidelines for Americans, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Youth physical activity guidelines toolkit, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011).
- Promoting physical activity, The guide to community preventive services (2008).
World Health Organization
- WHO STEPwise approach to NCD risk factor surveillance: Physical activity.
- Young and physically active: A blueprint for making physical activity appealing to youth (2012).
- Global recommendations on physical activity for health (PDF document) (2010).
- A healthy city is an active city: A physical activity planning guide, Europe (2008).
Policy approaches from the World Health Organization – Europe
- Promoting sport and enhancing health in European Union countries: A policy content analysis to support action (PDF document) (2011).
- Health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) Policy Audit tool (PAT) (PDF document) (2011).
- Review of physical activity promotion policy development and legislation in European Union Member States (PDF document) (2010).
- Intersection between the built and social environments and older adults’ mobility: An evidence review (PDF document), National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (2012).
Selected reviews from HealthEvidence.org:
- Workplace interventions for decreasing sitting at work (2015).
- Community wide interventions for increasing physical activity (2015).
- Social media interventions for diet and exercise behaviours: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2014).
- A systematic review of workplace health promotion interventions for increasing physical activity (2013).
- Chair-based exercises for frail older people: A systematic review (2013).
- Physical activity interventions with healthy minority adults: Meta-analysis of behavior and health outcomes (2012).
- Workplace interventions for reducing sitting at work (2015).
Search more systematic reviews.