Physical inactivity is a significant public health issue, as low levels of physical activity are associated with increased risk of non-communicable diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers), chronic disease risk factors (e.g. obesity and hypertension), anxiety and depression, and premature mortality [1],[2]. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor of global mortality, estimating 3.2 million deaths globally attributable to inactivity.[3] In addition to the impact on the lives of the individual, there are societal costs. For example, the economic impact of physical inactivity in Canada in terms of chronic disease, obesity and health care costs is estimated at CAD $6.8 billion per annum [4].



Adults Children and Youth

[1] Public Health Agency of Canada. A common vision for increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary living in Canada: Let’s get moving. 2018. Available here

[2] Warburton D, Whitney C, Bredin S. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006; 174(6):801-809

[3] World Health Organization (WHO). Health topics. Physical Activity. [Online] Available here (accessed September 25, 2013).

[4] Janssen I. Health care costs of physical inactivity in Canadian adults. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012; 37(4):803-806

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of women (18 years or older)  indicate a high level of agreement that physical activity and sport is affordable

Facts and Figures

Physical activity levels of Canadians 

According to the most recent findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey, a higher proportion (59%) of men (aged 18 years or older) report being physically active for 150 minutes per week compared to women (50%) the same age. This gender related difference in physical activity has persisted over time.[1]


[1] Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey. Table 13-10-0096-01 Health characteristics, annual estimates.2018. Available here.


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Bulletin 3: Places to safely walk


This particular research bulletin examines Canadians’ perspectives about the amount of places to safely walk in their community, the level of satisfaction with the amount of places to safely walk, and finally, their usage of such places. Each of these factors are explored in relation to key socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, education level, household income level, employment and marital status, region, and community characteristics.

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