This study employs national time-diary data to evaluate how much aerobic activity Canadians engage in on a daily basis, how that activity is apportioned by activity domain, and how subgroups within the population vary in their aerobic attainment.
The study employs time-use data from the 2010 General Social Survey of Canada, for 15,390 respondents aged 15 and older. To estimate effort levels, the authors harmonized survey codes with those in the Compendium of Physical Activities. Aerobic activity was defined as moderate or vigorous effort at 3.5 Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) or higher.
Among the 4 activity domains, aerobic participation is highest in leisure activities, followed by chores, paid work, and active transportation (AT). Only a minority (42%) of respondents recorded at least 20 mins/day of aerobic activity. Aerobic totals were particularly low for women and those in poor or fair health, and low for students, 15- to 24-year-olds, and those residing in Quebec, Ontario, and larger cities.
The majority of Canadian adults are failing to meet recommended aerobic activity levels. However, there is considerable opportunity to increase aerobic participation for some groups, particularly women and young adults, especially in the leisure and AT domains.
Millward and Spinney are with the Dept of Geography, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Scott is with the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.