Coalition For Active Living

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Pan-Canadian Physical Activity Strategy

The Coalition for Active Living

The Coalition for Active Living is a national action group of over 80 organizations advocating to ensure that the environments where Canadians live, work, learn and play support regular physical activity. The CAL is responsible for the development of the Framework for a Pan - Canadian Physical Activity Strategy and is funded by the Physical Activity Contribution Program of Health Canada.

Investment in Physical Activity Is Critical

Compelling evidence identifies the importance of increasing Canadian physical activity levels. In response to this evidence, the Coalition for Active Living submitted a brief to the Standing Committee on Finance in November 2002. This document urged the Government of Canada to make a strategic investment of $500 million dollars over five years (beginning in April, 2003) to enable the voluntary sector to undertake an aggressive strategy to address this national physical inactivity epidemic.

The Physical Activity Status of Canadians

Through the 1990s, research revealed that most Canadians were not active enough to receive the health-related benefits of regular physical activity. Today, the level of physical inactivity is reaching epidemic proportions.

According to the 2000/01 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS),

Other key findings of the CCHS include the following.

Inactive Children and Youth

The majority of Canadian children and youth, aged 12 to 17, are not active enough for optimal growth and development (according to international guidelines). Canadian girls are less active than boys, with only 12% of girls (compared with 20% of boys) considered active enough using these guidelines (Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute).

The average Canadian child is sedentary for three to five hours a day in front of the TV. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal also showed that between 1981 and 1996, the prevalence of overweight boys increased from 15% to 35.4% (the prevalence of overweight girls increased from 15% to 29.2%).

During this same time, the prevalence of obesity in children tripled, from 5% to 16.6% for boys and from 5% to 14.6% for girls (Tremblay & Willms, CMAJ 2000 Canadian Medical Association Journal; 163).

The Cost of Physical Inactivity

Increased physical activity levels can save health-care dollars.

Investment in strategies to increase physical activity levels is critical.