This research uses four nationally representative samples of time diary data, spanning almost 30 yr, that are fused with energy expenditure information to enumerate the median daily duration of moderate or vigorous-effort activity, quantify the prevalence of Canadians age 65 yr and older who are meeting recommended daily levels of physical activity, and explore the factors affecting rates of active living. Results indicate that 41.1% of older Canadians met recommended levels of physical activity in 1992, 40.6% in 1998, 43.5% in 2005, and 39.6% in 2010. Both rates of active living and daily duration of aerobic activity exhibit significant differences among sociodemographic groups, with age, sex, activity limitation, urban-rural, and season exhibiting the most significant influences. This study illustrates the potential for time diary data to provide detailed surveillance of physical activity patterns, active aging research, and program development, as well.
Jamie E. L. Spinney and Hugh Millward
Jamie E. L. Spinney, Hugh Millward and Darren Scott
Walking is the most common physical activity for adults with important implications for urban planning and public health. Recreational walking has received considerably more attention than walking for transport, and differences between them remain poorly understood.
Using time-use data collected from 1971 randomly-chosen adults in Halifax, Canada, we identified walking for transport and walking for recreation events, and then computed participation rates, occurrences, mean event durations, and total daily durations in order to examine the participants and timing, while the locations were examined using origin-destination matrices. We compared differences using McNemar’s test for participation rates, Wilcoxon test for occurrences and durations, and Chi-Square test for locations.
Results illustrate many significant differences between the 2 types of walking, related to participants, timing, and locations. For example, results indicate a daily average of 3.1 walking for transport events, each lasting 8 minutes on average, compared with 1.4 recreational walking events lasting 39 minutes on average. Results also indicate more than two-thirds of recreational walks are home-based, compared with less than one-fifth of transport walks.
This research highlights the importance of both types of walking, while also casting suspicion on the traditional home-based paradigm used to measure “walkability.”
Hugh Millward, Jamie E. L. Spinney and Darren Scott
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.