For 20 years Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) has worked to inspire the country to engage all children and youth in physical activity (PA). The primary vehicle to achieve this is the AHKC Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, which has been released annually since 2005. Using 10 years of experience with this knowledge translation and synthesis mechanism, this paper aggregates and consolidates diverse evidence demonstrating the impact of the Report Card and related knowledge translation activities. Over the years many evaluations, consultations, assessments, and surveys have helped inform changes in the Report Card to improve its impact. Guided by a logic model, the various assessments have traversed areas related to distribution and reach, meeting stakeholder needs, use of the Report Card, its influence on policy, and advancing the mission of AHKC. In the past 10 years, the Report Card has achieved > 1 billion media impressions, distributed > 120,000 printed copies and > 200,000 electronic copies, and benefited from a collective ad value > $10 million. The Report Card has been replicated in 14 countries, 2 provinces, 1 state and 1 city. AHKC has received consistent positive feedback from stakeholders and endusers, who reported that the Report Card has been used for public awareness/education campaigns and advocacy strategies, to strengthen partnerships, to inform research and program design, and to advance and adjust policies and strategies. Collectively, the evidence suggests that the Report Card has been successful at powering the movement to get kids moving, and in achieving demonstrable success on immediate and intermediate outcomes, although the long-term goal of improving the PA of Canadian children and youth remains to be realized.
Impact of the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card: A 10-Year Analysis
Mark S. Tremblay, Joel D. Barnes, and Jennifer Cowie Bonne
Standardizing and Optimizing the Use of Accelerometer Data for Free-Living Physical Activity Monitoring
Dale W. Esliger, Jennifer L. Copeland, Joel D. Barnes, and Mark S. Tremblay
The unequivocal link between physical activity and health has prompted researchers and public health officials to search for valid, reliable, and logistically feasible tools to measure and quantify free-living physical activity. Accelerometers hold promise in this regard. Recent technological advances have led to decreases in both the size and cost of accelerometers while increasing functionality (e.g., greater memory, waterproofing). A lack of common data reduction and standardized reporting procedures dramatically limit their potential, however. The purpose of this article is to expand on the utility of accelerometers for measuring free-living physical activity. A detailed example profile of physical activity is presented to highlight the potential richness of accelerometer data. Specific recommendations for optimizing and standardizing the use of accelerometer data are provided with support from specific examples. This descriptive article is intended to advance and ignite scholarly dialogue and debate regarding accelerometer data capture, reduction, analysis, and reporting.
Relationships Among Children’s Independent Mobility, Active Transportation, and Physical Activity: A Multisite Cross-Sectional Study
Richard Larouche, Joel D. Barnes, Sébastien Blanchette, Guy Faulkner, Negin A. Riazi, François Trudeau, and Mark S. Tremblay
Purpose: Children’s independent mobility (IM) may facilitate both active transportation (AT) and physical activity (PA), but previous studies examining these associations were conducted in single regions that provided limited geographical variability. Method: We recruited 1699 children (55.0% girls) in 37 schools stratified by level of urbanization and socioeconomic status in 3 regions of Canada: Ottawa, Trois-Rivières, and Vancouver. Participants wore a SC-StepRx pedometer for 7 days and completed a validated questionnaire from which we derived a 6-point IM index, the number of AT trips over a week, and the volume of AT to/from school (in kilometer per week). We investigated relationships among measures of IM, AT, and PA employing linear mixed models or generalized linear mixed models adjusted for site, urbanization, and socioeconomic status. Results: Each unit increase in IM was associated with 9% more AT trips, 19% higher AT volume, and 147 more steps per day, with consistent results across genders. Both measures of AT were associated with marginally higher PA when pooling boys’ and girls’ data. Children in Vancouver engaged in more AT. PA did not vary across site, urbanization, or socioeconomic status. Conclusion: IM was associated with more AT and PA regardless of where children lived, underscoring a need for IM interventions.
Global Matrix 2.0: Report Card Grades on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth Comparing 38 Countries
Mark S. Tremblay, Joel D. Barnes, Silvia A. González, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera, John J. Reilly, Grant R. Tomkinson, and the Global Matrix 2.0 Research Team
The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance organized the concurrent preparation of Report Cards on the physical activity of children and youth in 38 countries from 6 continents (representing 60% of the world’s population). Nine common indicators were used (Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behavior, Family and Peers, School, Community and the Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments), and all Report Cards were generated through a harmonized development process and a standardized grading framework (from A = excellent, to F = failing). The 38 Report Cards were presented at the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand on November 16, 2016. The consolidated findings are summarized in the form of a Global Matrix demonstrating substantial variation in grades both within and across countries. Countries that lead in certain indicators often lag in others. Average grades for both Overall Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior around the world are D (low/poor). In contrast, the average grade for indicators related to supports for physical activity was C. Lower-income countries generally had better grades on Overall Physical Activity, Active Transportation, and Sedentary Behaviors compared with higher-income countries, yet worse grades for supports from Family and Peers, Community and the Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments. Average grades for all indicators combined were highest (best) in Denmark, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Many surveillance and research gaps were apparent, especially for the Active Play and Family and Peers indicators. International cooperation and cross-fertilization is encouraged to address existing challenges, understand underlying determinants, conceive innovative solutions, and mitigate the global childhood inactivity crisis. The paradox of higher physical activity and lower sedentary behavior in countries reporting poorer infrastructure, and lower physical activity and higher sedentary behavior in countries reporting better infrastructure, suggests that autonomy to play, travel, or chore requirements and/or fewer attractive sedentary pursuits, rather than infrastructure and structured activities, may facilitate higher levels of physical activity.
Results From Canada’s 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Joel D. Barnes, Christine Cameron, Valerie Carson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Guy E.J. Faulkner, Katherine Janson, Ian Janssen, Roger Kramers, Allana G. LeBlanc, John C. Spence, and Mark S. Tremblay
The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada and provides an update or “state of the nation” that assesses how Canada is doing at promoting and facilitating physical activity opportunities for children and youth. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the results of the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card.
Twelve physical activity indicators were graded by a committee of experts using a process that was informed by the best available evidence. Sources included national surveys, peer-reviewed literature, and gray literature such as government and nongovernment reports and online content.
Grades were assigned to Daily Behaviors (Overall Physical Activity: D-; Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation: B; Active Play: D+; Active Transportation: D; Physical Literacy: D+; Sleep: B; Sedentary Behaviors: F), Settings and Sources of Influence (Family and Peers: C+; School: B; Community and Environment: A-), and Strategies and Investments (Government: B-; Nongovernment: A-).
Similar to previous years of the Report Card, Canada generally received good grades for indicators relating to investment, infrastructure, strategies, policies, and programming, and poor grades for behavioral indicators (eg, Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors).
Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrix 4.0—A Resource for Physical Activity Researchers
Mark S. Tremblay, Joel D. Barnes, Iryna Demchenko, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Javier Brazo-Sayavera, Jakub Kalinowski, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Taru Manyanga, John J. Reilly, Stephen Heung Sang Wong, and Salomé Aubert
Background: This brief report provides an overview of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA); an introduction to the Global Matrix 4.0; an explanation of the value and opportunities that the AHKGA efforts and assets provide to the physical activity research, policy, practice, and advocacy community; an outline of the series of papers related to the Global Matrix 4.0 in this issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health; and an invitation for future involvement. Methods: The AHKGA was formed to help power the global movement to get kids moving. In 2019–2021, we recruited countries to participate in the Global Matrix 4.0, a worldwide initiative to assess, compare, and contrast the physical activity of children and adolescents. Results: A total of 57 countries/jurisdictions (hereafter referred to as countries for simplicity) were recruited. The current activities of the AHKGA are summarized. The overall findings of the Global Matrix 4.0 are presented in a series of papers in this issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Conclusions: The Global Matrix 4.0 and other assets of the AHKGA are publicly available, and physical activity researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and advocates are encouraged to exploit these resources to further their efforts.
Results from Canada’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Casey E. Gray, Joel D. Barnes, Jennifer Cowie Bonne, Christine Cameron, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Guy Faulkner, Ian Janssen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Angela M. Kolen, Stephen R. Manske, Art Salmon, John C. Spence, Brian W. Timmons, and Mark S. Tremblay
The Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how Canada is being responsible in providing physical activity opportunities for children (3- to 11-years-old) and youth (12- to 17-years-old). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2014 AHKC 10th Anniversary Report Card.
Ten physical activity indicators were graded using the AHKC Report Card development process, which includes a synthesis of the best available research, surveillance, policy and practice findings, and expert consensus.
Grades assigned were for: ‘Behaviors that Contribute to Overall Physical Activity Levels’ (Overall Physical Activity Levels, D-; Organized Sport Participation, C+; Active Play, INCOMPLETE; Active Transportation, D; Sedentary Behaviors, F), ‘Settings and Sources of Influence’ (Family and Peers, C; School, C+; and Community and the Built Environment, B+), and ‘Strategies and Investments’ (Government Strategies and Investments, C; and Non-Government Strategies and Investments, A-).
Despite good availability of policies, programs, and infrastructure, the overall physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth remain low while sedentary behavior levels remain high. As with many nations, there is room for improvement in most physical activity behaviors and some sources of influence.
Indicators of Physical Activity Among Children and Youth in 9 Countries With Low to Medium Human Development Indices: A Global Matrix 3.0 Paper
Taru Manyanga, Joel D. Barnes, Chalchisa Abdeta, Ade F. Adeniyi, Jasmin Bhawra, Catherine E. Draper, Tarun R. Katapally, Asaduzzaman Khan, Estelle Lambert, Daga Makaza, Vida K. Nyawornota, Reginald Ocansey, Narayan Subedi, Riaz Uddin, Dawn Tladi, and Mark S. Tremblay
Background: This study compares results of physical activity report cards from 9 countries with low to medium human development indices, participating in the Global Matrix 3.0 initiative. Methods: Country-specific report cards were informed by relevant data and government policy documents, reporting on 10 core indicators of physical activity for children and youth. Data were synthesized by report card working groups following a harmonized process. Grade assignments for each indicator utilized a standard grading rubric. Indicators were grouped into one of 2 categories: daily behaviors and settings and sources of influence. Descriptive statistics (average grades) were computed after letter grades were converted into interval variables. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients were calculated for all correlation analyses. Results: Mean grades for daily behaviors were higher (C) than those for settings and sources of influence (D+). Twenty-nine out of the possible 90 grades were assigned an incomplete. There were moderate to strong positive and negative relationships between different global indices and overall physical activity, organized sport and physical activity, active play, family, community and environment, and government. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate an urgent need for high-quality data at the country level in order to better characterize the physical activity levels of children and youth in countries with low to medium human development indices.
Report Card Grades on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth From 10 Countries With High Human Development Index: Global Matrix 3.0
Silvia A. González, Joel D. Barnes, Patrick Abi Nader, Dolores Susana Andrade Tenesaca, Javier Brazo-Sayavera, Karla I. Galaviz, Marianella Herrera-Cuenca, Piyawat Katewongsa, Juan López-Taylor, Yang Liu, Bilyana Mileva, Angélica María Ochoa Avilés, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Pairoj Saonuam, and Mark S. Tremblay
Background: The Global Matrix 3.0 brings together the Report Card grades for 10 physical activity indicators for children and youth from 49 countries. This study describes and compares the Global Matrix 3.0 findings among 10 countries with high Human Development Index. Methods: Report Cards on physical activity indicators were developed by each country following a harmonized process. Countries informed their Report Cards with the best and most recent evidence available. Indicators were graded using a common grading rubric and benchmarks established by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. A database of grades from the countries was compiled, and letter grades were converted to numerical equivalents. Descriptive statistics and scores for groups of indicators were calculated, and correlation analyses were conducted. Results: Grades for the 10 countries clustered around “D” ranging from “F” to “B+.” Active Transportation had the highest average grade (“C”), whereas Overall Physical Activity had the lowest average grade (“D-”). Low grades were observed for both behavioral and sources of influence indicators. Conclusions: In the context of social and economical changes of high- Human Development Index countries, urgent actions to increase physical activity among children and youth are required. Surveillance and monitoring efforts are required to fill research gaps.