Physical activity in youth: Prevalence, risk indicators,and solutions

Mark Lemstra*, Ghita Nielsen, Marla Rogers, Adam Thompson, John Moraros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the unadjusted and adjusted associations between developmental, environmental, psychological, social, or demographic factors and meeting the Health Canada physical activity standard. Design: Survey. Setting: Saskatoon, Sask. Participants: Every student in grades 5 to 8 in Saskatoon was asked to complete the Saskatoon School Health Survey; 4197 students did so. Main outcome measures: Whether students met the Health Canada standard for daily physical activity and associated risk factors for not meeting the standard. Results: Among the 4197 youth who participated in the survey, only 7% met the Health Canada standard of daily physical activity longer than 1 hour of somewhat hard intensity or higher. Although there were 23 unadjusted factors associated with youth meeting the Health Canada standard, only 5 were significant after multivariate adjustment: 1) their fathers were employed (odds ratio [OR] 2.29, P = .027), 2) their parents watched them participate in physical activities or sports every day (OR 1.23, P < .001), 3) their friends encouraged them to do physical activities or sports every day (OR 1.19, P < .001), 4) their friends or classmates did not tease them for not doing well at physical activities or sports every day (OR 1.20, P = .001), and 5) they played sports or physical activities with coaches or instructors more than 4 times a week (OR 1.44, P < .001). Conclusion: Given the low rates of physical activity among youth, we believe that a reduced list of independent risk indicators is required to focus our limited human and financial resources for successful intervention in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e54-e61
JournalCanadian Family Physician
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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