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Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Behaviour Matters!

February 28, 2017
Thy Dinh
Director
Health Economics and Policy
Abhi Bhandari
Research Associate
Health Economics and Policy

The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care began work in the area of healthy active living through our Moving Ahead research series with a forecast of the health and economic impact of getting Canadians to move more and sit less. Our research showed that getting just 10 per cent of the Canadian adult population to sit less and move more could result in savings to the health care system and boost the Canadian economy by a whopping $7.5 billion by the year 2040.1 However, only one in five adults meets the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, and the majority of Canadians lead a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.2 This research series has identified and will continue to identify cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable interventions to promote and improve healthy active living among Canadians of all ages and in different settings, including the workplace,3 schools,4 the community, and the primary health care system.

Encouraging and Supporting Canadians to Move More and Sit Less

In Moving Ahead: Taking Steps to Reduce Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour, we discuss how individuals, families, and communities need opportunity, capability, and motivation to move from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one. Policies, programs, and invested resources to help reduce Canadians’ physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour will not be effective over the long term, or at a population level, if their environments do not support healthier choices (see Exhibit 1, The Behaviour Change Wheel).

Exhibit 1: The Behaviour Change Wheel

Source: Michie, van Stralen, and West, “The Behaviour Change Wheel: A New Method for Characterising and Designing Behaviour Change Interventions.”

Seeking Engagement in the Development of a Pan-Canadian Framework for Physical Activity: Focused Perspectives from Rural, Remote, Northern, and Indigenous Communities

The Conference Board has been asked by federal, provincial, and territorial ministers5 responsible for sport, physical activity, and recreation (SPAR) to assist in engaging key stakeholders in health, physical activity, sport, and recreation, in addition to other relevant disciplines and sectors that impact physical activity, to inform the development of a physical activity framework. This framework will complement other existing government and community-led policies and programs such as Active Canada 20/20: A Physical Activity and Change Agenda for Canada, the Canadian Sport Policy 2012, and the Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015: Pathways to Well-being, among others, and will consider new and emerging policy approaches. It will be completed for endorsement by federal, provincial, and territorial SPAR ministers in July 2017.

The second stage in the engagement process includes a new survey that is focused on the unique perspectives of rural, remote, Northern, and/or Indigenous communities, for completion by individuals who live and work in, with, and for these communities. We encourage anyone who wants to have a voice in the development of this framework to share their thoughts in this survey. As a bonus, respondents have a chance to enter a draw for a Fitbit! The survey deadline is March 10, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Click on or copy and paste the following link into your internet browser to complete the survey: https://na1se.voxco.com/SE/82/NRRIperspectives/

1 Fares Bounajm, Thy Dinh, and Louis Thériault, Moving Ahead: The Economic Impact of Reducing Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour (Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2014).

2 John C. Spence and Thy Dinh, Moving Ahead: Taking Steps to Reduce Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour (Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2016).

3 Louise Chenier, Moving Ahead: Workplace Interventions to Reduce Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour (Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2015).

4 Novella Martinello, Jenny Santos, and Jessica Brichta, Moving Ahead: School-Based Interventions to Reduce Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour (Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2016).

5 Excluding Quebec.

 


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