(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

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says the City Langford has lessons to share on how to deal with social issues. (File photo)
Langford could teach North Cowichan ways to deal with social issues: Siebring

Island city has only eight homeless people, according to last count

Potential designs for 85 Station St. were presented last month to the City of Duncan by the Portland-based architecture and planning firm Communitecture. (Courtesy of Communitecture)
City of Duncan considers applying for grant for Station Street project

New provincial program offers grants of up to $1 million

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Port Alberni resident Holly Braker-McLaughlin captured footage of five bears playing in her yard. (SCREENSHOT)
VIDEO: Quintet of bears frolic in Vancouver Island yard

Port Alberni family was treated to a visit from some playful black bears

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read