NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 14, 2010

Fitness levels of Canadians of all ages declined significantly from 1981 to 2009, an analysis by Statistics Canada found.

The Canadian Health Measures Survey collected key information relevant to the health of Canadians by means of direct physical measurements, such as body measurements, cardio-respiratory fitness, musculoskeletal fitness and blood pressure.

The data was collected from March 2007 to February 2009 on a representative sample of about 5,600 Canadians ages 6-79 at 15 sites across the country using specially designed pair of trailers staffed by fully trained health professionals, to collect physical measures of health.  The survey results were compared with data from the 1981 Canadian Fitness Survey:

  • In the period 2007-2009, the percentage of teens ages 15-19 whose waist circumference put them at an increased or high risk of health problems more than tripled from 1981.
  • Among adults ages 20-39, the percentage more than quadrupled, the analysis said.

Other findings:

  • Among teen boys ages 15-19, the proportion classified as overweight or obese rose from 14 percent to 31 percent between 1981 and 2009.
  • Among teen girls, it increased from 14 percent to 25 percent, the analysis said.
  • Additionally, 3 percent of the adult population had high blood pressure that was undiagnosed in 2009.

Source: Report, "Canadians less fit than they used to be," UPI, January 13, 2010.

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