The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute has monitored physical activity levels of children and youth through the CANPLAY study (the Canadian Physical Activity Levels Among Youth Study). CANPLAY uses pedometers to measure daily steps. In the most recent study years (2014-2016), children and youth ages 5 to 19 took approximately 11,300 steps/day on average. Average daily steps varied by region, age, gender, and various socio-economic factors. [1]

In addition to knowing the actual number of daily steps taken by children and youth, it is imperative to determine whether this equates to being sufficiently active for health benefits. The Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines suggest that children between the ages of 5 and 17 should aim to accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activities each day.[2] It is estimated that 12,000 daily steps would approximate these guidelines. Using this estimate, approximately 41% of children and youth (ages 5 to 19) meet the guidelines (average 12,000 steps per day).[3] The proportion achieving this criterion varies by age, gender, region, and socio-economic factors (e.g., household income and education).

 

[1] Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute. Physical Activity Levels of Canadian children and youth. Bulletin 1, 2014-2016 CANPLAY.  2017. Available here.

[2] Canadian Sport Exercise Physiology. 24-hr Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. Available here.

[3] Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute. Achieving sufficient steps per day among Canadian children and youth. Bulletin 8, 2014-2016 CANPLAY. 2019. Available here.

# By The
Numbers


77%

of Canadian children and youth between the ages of 5 and 19, participate in organized physical activity and sport.

Facts & Figures 

Average daily steps taken by age and gender

Boys take more steps on average than girls. Average daily steps decrease with increasing age of the child. The gender difference is statistically significant at each age group and generally speaking the age-related decline appears for both boys and girls.

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Bulletin 1: Physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth

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The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute has studied the physical activity levels of children and youth through a study called CANPLAY (the Canadian Physical Activity Levels Among Youth Study). CANPLAY uses pedometers to measure daily steps. This bulletin generally represents data collected during the two year time period from 2014-2016, unless identified as trend information representing data collected in the study during the years 2005 to 2016.

Read Moreabout Bulletin 1: Physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth