Background: This paper describes the process used to arrive at recommended physical activity guidelines for Canadian school-aged children and youth (5-17 years), adults (18-64 years) and older adults (>/=65 years).
Methods: The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) Physical Activity Measurement and Guidelines (PAMG) Steering Committee used the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research Evaluation (AGREE II) Instrument to inform the guideline development process. Fourteen background papers and five systematic reviews were completed. Systematic review authors appraised and synthesized the data, and proposed specific recommendations at an international consensus conference of invited experts and key stakeholders. Independently, an international panel of experts interpreted the evidence from the systematic reviews and developed recommendations following attendance at the Consensus Conference.
Results: Using the AGREE II instrument as a guide, specific foci for each of the guidelines were defined and systematic review methodology was used to synthesize the evidence base. The expert panel, CSEP PAMG Steering Committee and methodological consultants reviewed the systematic reviews and Consensus Statement. The expert panel achieved consensus on the level of evidence informing the physical activity guidelines and developed a separate document outlining key recommendations, interpretation of the evidence and justification of each recommendation.
Conclusion: The CSEP and Public Health Agency of Canada followed a rigorous process to examine the evidence informing potential revisions to existing physical activity guidelines for Canadians. It is believed that this is the first physical activity guideline development process in the world to be guided and assessed by AGREE II and AMSTAR instruments.