CANPLAY study: Secular trends in steps/day amongst 5-19year-old Canadians between 2005 and 2014

Prev Med. 2016 May;86:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.12.020. Epub 2016 Jan 4.


Introduction: The Canadian Physical Activity Levels Among Youth (CANPLAY) study collected pedometer data from eight surveys between 2005 and 2014, making it a unique database of objective population physical activity surveillance. The purpose of this study was to describe secular physical activity trends for 5-19year olds.

Methods: Canadian children from nationally representative samples (10,000 recruited, n≅5500 per survey) were mailed a pedometer kit, asked to wear the pedometer for 7 consecutive days, log steps daily, then return the log by mail. Weighted medians and prevalence estimates were calculated. Trends were tested by χ(2) test of independence.

Results: An overall median of 10,935 steps/day was taken by Canadian children 5-19years of age (n=43,806) across the eight surveys. Steps/day increased between 2005-06 and 2007-08, then decreased in 2012-14. The prevalence of taking sufficient steps/day (defined as ≥10,000 steps/day for 5year olds, ≥13,000 steps/day for 6-11year-old boys; ≥11,000 steps/day for 6-11year-old girls; and ≥10,000 steps/day for 12-19year olds;) also increased then decreased over time, whereas the prevalence of accumulating <7000 steps/day generally increased over time. Trends were significant for boys, girls and each age group.

Discussion: The CANPLAY surveillance system provided comparable data at multiple time points over 9years. An overall shift in the distribution of steps/day towards a less active lifestyle occurred between 2005-06 and 2012-14 for boys, girls and each age group. This provides evidence that the national policy goal to increase children's steps/day by 2015 has not been met.

Keywords: Data collection; Exercise; Surveillance; Walking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Healthy People Programs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult