Sedentary behaviours among adults across Canada

Katya M. Herman, Travis J. Saunders



OBJECTIVES: While cross-Canada variations in physical activity and weight status have been illustrated, less is known about sedentary behaviour (SB). The aim of this study was to describe various SBs and their correlates among Canadian adults.


METHODS: Cross-sectional data from the 2011–2012 Canadian Community Health Survey included 92,918 respondents aged 20–75+ years, representative of >22 million Canadian adults. TV/video viewing, computer, video game playing and reading time were self-reported. Associations with socio-demographic, health and health behaviour variables were examined.


RESULTS: About 31% of adults reported >2 hours/day TV viewing, while 47% of men and 41% of women reported >5 hours/week computer use, 24% of men and 12% of women reported ≥1 hour/week video game playing, and 33% of men and 46% of women reported >5 hours/week reading; 28% of respondents reported ≥5 hours/day total SB time. Age was the strongest correlate: adults 75+ had 5 and 6 times greater odds respectively of reporting >2 hours/day TV viewing and >5 hours/week reading, but far lesser odds of reporting high computer or video game time, compared to adults 20–24. Other variables associated with specific SBs included gender, marital status, education, occupation, income and immigrant status, as well as BMI, weight perceptions, smoking, diet and physical activity.


CONCLUSION: Common sedentary behaviours were associated with numerous socio-demographic, health and health behaviour characteristics in a large representative sample of Canadians. These correlates differed according to the type of SB. Public health interventions targeting SB should be behavior-specific and tailored to the population segment of interest.


Screen time; reading; television; computer; physical activity; obesity

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