Physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality1

The costs of physical inactivity

  • $ 2.4 billion in direct costs
  • $4.3 billion in indirect costs
  • $6.8 billion in total health-care costs2

The benefits of physical activity

Getting just 10% of people living in Canada to move more would:

  • Increase workplace productivity
  • Decrease absenteeism
  • Inject a minimum of $1.6 billion into the economy
  • Reduce health-care spending on chronic disease by $2.6 billion3

Are kids in Canada moving enough?

For optimal health benefits, children and youth need to move more, reduce sedentary behaviours and get the right amount of sleep. Physical activity levels decrease with age, so it’s best to establish healthy habits early in life…

Only 28% of kids and teens (5-17 years) are meeting national physical guidelines  of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day4

  • Less than 60% of young children 3-4 years of age are meeting national physical activity guidelines.5
  • Levels of physical activity decrease by 7% per year among 10- to 19-year-olds.6
  • Boys (52%) are twice as likely as girls (26%) to meet physical activity guidelines.4
participaction phone screen

Screen time and sleep

  • 80% of 3- to 4-year-olds engage in more than one hour of screen-viewing per day.5
  • Only 18% of 5- to 17-years-olds are meeting the two-hour recommendation of recreational screen-viewing per day.4
  • 75% of 5- to 17-year-olds meet national sleep recommendations.4

Are children in Canada making the grade?

In our 2022 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, we assigned a ‘D’ to overall physical activity.

What opportunities to get active were lost and found during the pandemic, and where do we go from here?

one girl with a balloon on her hand, a boy with a lupe in his hand and a boy in a wheelchair playing and smiling

Adults in Canada and physical activity

New evidence supports that any movement during the day is good for you. Unfortunately, most adults living in Canada are not getting 150 minutes of MVPA per week.

The majority of adults are not meeting national physical activity guidelines7

  • 83% of adults believe physical inactivity is a more serious health issue than tobacco and alcohol use. 8
  • 74% of adults state they enjoy being active. 8
Seniors in front of a TV in their living room

Too much screen time, just enough sleep

  • Adults are sedentary for 9.6 hours per day, excluding sleep time.9
  • Adults spend 25 hours per week on screens.10
  • On average, adults living in Canada get 7.2 hours of sleep per night.11 Not too shabby!

Are adults in Canada making the grade?

Canada faces a physical inactivity crisis deepened by COVID-19. Will we make the necessary choices to move toward a new, better normal?

Adult report card cover depicting two motivated individuals jumping on a couch

General references

  2. Janssen, I. (2012). Health care costs of physical inactivity in Canadian adults. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 37(4):803-806. Retrieved from
  3. Conference Board of Canada (2014). Moving Ahead: The Economic Impact of Reducing Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour. Retrieved from
  5. ParticipACTION. (2018). 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Retrieved from
  6. Dumith et al. (2011). Physical activity change during adolescence: a systematic review and a pooled analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(3), 685–698. Retrieved from
  7. Statistics Canada. (2021). Canadian Health Measures Survey, Cycle 6 [2018 and 2019], custom tabulation. Retrieved from
  8. ParticipACTION. (2018). ParticipACTION Pulse Report. Retrieved from
  9. Government of Canada (2017). Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep (PASS) Indicators. Retrieved from
  10. Government of Canada (2019). Canadian Chronic Disease Indicators (CCDI). Retrieved from
  11. Chaput et al. (2017). Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79. Health Reports, catalogue no. 82-003-X. Retrieved from