Setting-based studies

Purpose

The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute’s setting-based studies are national studies that assess opportunities for physical activity and sport within key settings: school, communities and municipalities, worksites, and home. The data is based on questions asked of key administrators within each of the settings, and parents representing the household setting. The setting-based studies are an important component of the CFLRI’s Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring Program (PASMP), as they provide critical information about the capacity of these settings to impact participation rates, the delivery system, and the role of these organizations as intermediaries to support physical activity and sport. These surveys are generally collected using mail or telephone. Four instruments represent these setting-based studies in the PASMP; these include the Opportunities for Physical Activity at School Study, the Survey of Physical Activity Opportunities in Canadian Communities, Opportunities for Physical Activity at Work, and the Parent Survey.

The research goals of the setting-based studies is to understand: 1) factors that support or hinder participation rates of physical activity and sport in key settings; and 2) secular trends over time by comparing each survey at multiple periods over time.

Opportunities for Physical Activity at School Study

 

What is it?

The Opportunities for Physical Activity at School Study assesses opportunities for physical activity and sport through the school system. It collects cross-sectional data on policies and programs available at school to support participation.

How was it developed?

The school study was established in 2001, with data collection occurring about every 5 years. Initial indicators were identified in 1996 as part of the overall needs assessment for the Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring System.

How is data collected?

School administrators from across Canada are invited to complete and return a questionnaire which is mailed to a random selection of schools.

The first wave was collected in 2001, with subsequent waves occurring in 2006, 2011, 2015, and in 2020. Sample sizes for the school study range from 6,000 to 10,000.

Information collected

The survey covers a variety of topics related to participation, namely:

  • information related to physical activity and sport
  • availability of programs and facilities
  • physical education
  • extracurricular activities and after school programs
  • collaboration and partnerships
  • human resources considerations
  • financial considerations
  • inclusivity
  • policies and social environment.

Benefits

  • Provides a comprehensive synopsis, at a national level, of current policies, programs, facilities and opportunities at school
  • Provides information on supports and key barriers (e.g., attitudes of stakeholders, policies)
  • Ability to track trends over time
  • Use of standardized measures and methodology
  • Consistent methods producing irreplaceable trend data, allowing for assessment of impact of strategies/policies
  • Credibility
  • Flexibility.

 

Survey of Physical Activity Opportunities in Canadian Communities

 

What is it?

The Survey of Physical Activity Opportunities in Canadian Communities measures opportunities for physical activity and sport in local communities. It collects cross-sectional data on policies, programs, services and infrastructure supporting healthy active lifestyles.

How was it developed?

The study was established in 1999, with data collection occurring about every 5 years. Study content was identified in the 1996 needs assessment for the Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring System.

How is data collected?

All municipal administrators across Canada are invited to complete and return a mailed questionnaire. Studies of communities have been conducted in 2000, 2004, 2009, 2015, and 2020. Sample includes all municipalities in Canada.

Information collected

The survey covers a variety of topics related to participation, namely:

  • municipal policies
  • infrastructure
  • services supporting physical activity
  • municipal programming and schedules
  • barriers and requirements
  • availability of physical activity information

Benefits

  • Provides a comprehensive picture, at a national level, of policies, programs, infrastructure and opportunities to support active modes of commuting and participation in physical activity and sport.
  • Provides information on factors enabling and constraining opportunities  (e.g., infrastructure, scheduling)
  • Ability to track trends over time
  • Use of standardized measures and methodology
  • Consistent methods producing irreplaceable trend data, allowing for assessment of impact of strategies/policies
  • Credibility
  • Flexibility.

 

Opportunities for Physical Activity at Work

 

What is it?

The Opportunities for Physical Activity at Work Study examines opportunities for physical activity and sport at work. It collects cross-sectional data on policies, promotions, programs and facilities to encourage participation.

How was it developed?

The first workplace study that was part of the Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring Program was designed in 2002 based on an earlier 1992 CFLRI Workplace Study. The survey was conducted in 2003 and again in 2007-2008 and is expected to be repeated starting in 2021.

How is data collected?

The survey consisted of a self-completed questionnaire, which is mailed to workplace administrators. The mailings are followed by reminders.

Information collected

This survey collects data on:

  • supportive policies for physical activity at work
  • availability of facilities at work to be active
  • other opportunities to be active at or near work
  • work related benefits of physical activity
  • work related barriers to physical activity
  • demand for resources
  • encouragement for physical activity

Benefits

  • Provides a comprehensive portrait, at a national level, of policies, programs, promotions, facilities and opportunities at work
  • Provided information on the capacity of workplaces to promote a healthy active lifestyle
  • Ability to track trends over time
  • Use of standardized measures and methodology
  • Consistent methods producing irreplaceable trend data, allowing for assessment of impact of strategies/policies
  • Credibility
  • Flexibility.

 

Parent Survey

 

What is it?

This Parent Survey explores opportunities for children’s participation in physical activity and sport from a parental perspective.

How was it developed?

Initial indicators were identified through the Advisory Committee of the Monitoring Program, based on the needs of governments.

How is data collected?

The data was collected as part of the Physical Activity Monitor (PAM). The nationally representative sample is determined using random-digit dialling from household-based telephone directories. This random sample of households is selected roughly proportional to the population in each province and territory. Within each household, an individual, 18 years or older, is randomly selected. All parents in the sample were invited to participate in the additional module of the survey. Data was collected using a CATI (computer-assisted telephone interview) system.

Information collected

The PAM portion of the surveys focused on individual-level factors associated with physical activity and sport. The Parent Study included factors related to children’s physical activity and sport such as:

  • parental awareness of guidelines for physical activity
  • location of participation
  • benefits of participation
  • perceived barriers to participation
  • awareness, importance and use of Child Fitness Tax Credit (2008)

Benefits

  • Provided an understanding of parental knowledge of how much activity children require
  • Provided trends over time

The CFLRI is currently conducting a study of physical activity opportunities in Canadian schools. If you have received an invitation to participate in this and have any questions regarding the study please contact us at research_recherche@cflri.ca. Thank you for your participation!