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Physical Activity Levels

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 $3.9 billion annually[4].

  • [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.
  • [4] Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) and Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA). 2023. The Price of Inactivity: Measuring the Powerful Impact of Sport, Physical Activity, and Recreation in Canada. CFLRI & CPRA. Ottawa, ON, Canada.


The CFLRI monitors trends in physical activity levels among adults over time in different domains.

Children and Youth

Children and youth who meet physical activity recommendations within the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.

Self-reported physical activity, 150 minutes, adults (18+ years), CCHS, 2021

Facts and Figures

Physical activity levels of Canadians

According to the most recent findings from the 2021 Canadian Community Health Survey, a higher proportion (57%) of men (aged 18 years or older report being physically active for 150 minutes per week compared to women (51%) the same age. This gender related difference in physical activity has generally persisted over time [1].

  • [1] Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey. Table 13-10- 0096-01 Health characteristics, annual estimates. 2023. Available here.