(Unsplash)

Canadians believe physical inactivity is nearly as bad as smoking: study

UBC researchers look at the ‘social climate’ surrounding physical inactivity

More than half of Canadians think not being active is a worrying trend, a study from the University of B.C. suggests.

The study of 2,500 Canadians, published this week in the journal BMC Public Health, is the first to look at the “social climate”— society’s feelings, attitudes, beliefs and opinions — surrounding physical inactivity, researchers said.

Fifty-five per cent of people think physical inactivity is a “serious public health concern,” compared to the 58 per cent worried about unhealthy diets and 57 per cent concerned about tobacco use.

READ MORE: Make phys. ed. a priority to avoid ‘embarrassing’ gym classes, say experts

Only 10 per cent of kids, and 20 per cent of adults, are meeting current guidelines for physical activity.

It’s important to measure what people think about physical inactivity, researchers said, because seeing how the public views an issue is key to determining how to fix it.

Just 21 per cent of those surveyed believed physical inactivity was a personal issue, while 66 per cent thought it was both a public and private health matter.

“Many recognize the importance of thinking beyond the individual, so we have an interesting platform for considering innovative policies at the national, provincial and territorial levels,” said Guy Faulkner, UBC kinesiology professor and senior study author.

Faulkner drew parallels between physical inactivity and smoking, saying society’s more negative perceptions of smoking allowed government to bring in regulations.

“Taking legislative action — for example, banning smoking in bars — became more acceptable when there were appropriate levels of public support to move forward with those types of actions,” Faulkner said.

Following up on the benchmark established by this study, researchers hope to conduct the survey again in 2025 to see if attitudes have changed.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Car giveaway set for MEI on Friday

One lucky alumni member will receive a new Mazda 3

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Abbotsford Police issue 81 speeding tickets in school zones over 2 days

‘30 in 30’ traffic-enforcement blitz took place last Thursday and Friday

Salvation Army kettle campaign raises $121,000 in Abbotsford

Christmas fundraising up $20,000 over previous year

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read