Physical Activity, Screen Time, and Sleep

Physical Activity Data

Regular physical activity promotes well-being and positive self-esteem, and is protective against obesity, symptoms of mental illnesses (e.g., depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, substance use disorders) and reduces risks for many chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes). [1,2,3]

Physical activity takes many forms; it can be unstructured or structured, such as organized sports, or it can be utilitarian, such as walking or cycling to work, school or running errands. Built environments (i.e. the physical layout and design of streets and buildings) can significantly affect how physically active people are in daily life.

For more information on physical activity, please refer to Ottawa Public Health's Physical Activity webpage

 Active Transportation

Youth

  • Among Ottawa students in Grades 7 to 12, one in five (18%) usually used active transportation (i.e. walked or biked) to get to school in 2017. This rate is comparable to the Ontario-less-Ottawa average of 19%. [4]

Adults

In Ottawa:

  • 63% of adults (aged 18+ years) walked or biked for reasons other than recreation or fitness (e.g., walking to work, running errands) at least once in the past year, in 2017. [5]
    • The percentage of adults using active transportation decreased with age (Figure 1).
    • High school graduates were less likely to use active transportation (48%) than adults who did not graduate from high school (61%) or post-secondary graduates (68%) (Figure 1).
  • 10% of adults (aged 15+ years) reported that their primary mode of transportation to work was walking or cycling in 2016. This proportion has remained steady over the past 15 years (Table 2).

Figure 1. Percentage of Ottawa adults reporting active transportation by age and highest educational attainment, 2017

Horizontal bar chart of the percentage of Ottawa adults reporting active transportation by age and highest educational attainment, 2017

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 1

Ottawa Public Health. Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017. 

  • The Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) is an ongoing random-digit dialed telephone (landline and cell) population health survey of Ottawa adults aged 18 years and older.
  • Respondents were asked "In the past 12 months, have you walked or biked for reasons other than recreation or fitness, such as walking to work, or running errands?"
  • Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
 Data Table for Figure 1
Table 1. Percentage of Ottawa adults reporting active transportation by age and highest educational attainment, 2017
 Socio-demographic  Indicator% Adults (18 Years of Age and Over)95% Confidence Intervals
Ottawa 63.19 59.97 - 66.3
Age (in Years) 18-29 81.9 72.2 - 88.7
30-44 72.3 64.2 - 79.1
45-64 57.4 52.4 - 62.3
65+ 46.6 41.1 - 52.2
Highest level of educational attainment No Certificate, Diploma or Degree 60.9 43.7 - 75.8
High School Diploma or Equivalent  47.8 39.1 - 56.7
Post-secondary Diploma, Degree or Certificate 67.5 63.9 - 70.9
Table 2. Primary mode of transportation to work, Ottawa adults aged 15+ years, 1996 to 2016

Primary Mode of Transportation to Work

1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

Car (Driver or Passenger)

NA

70.9%

69.1%

67.7%

68.4%

Public Transit

19.3%

20.1%

21.2%

21.8%

20.6%

Walk or Cycled

10.2%

9.5%

9.8%

9.5%

10.0%

Walked

7.9%

7.5%

7.6%

7.1%

7.4%

Cycled

2.3%

2.0%

2.2%

2.4%

2.6%

Other

0.8%

0.8%

0.9%

Not available

1.0%

 Data Source and Notes for Table 2

Statistics Canada. Canadian Census of Population, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2016.

Statistics Canada. National Household Survey, 2011.

Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity

Youth

The Canadian 24–Hour Movement Guidelines recommend children and youth accumulate 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. [6]

In Ottawa:

  • In 2017, 22% of Grade 7 to 12 students reported meeting the Canadian 24–Hour Movement Guidelines in the 7 days prior to the survey, which is similar to that for Ontario-less-Ottawa (23%). [4]
    • Boys (27%) were more likely than girls (16%) to meet the Guidelines. [4]
    • Students in Grades 7 to 8 (36%) were more likely to meet the Guidelines than students in Grades 9 to 10 (18%) and 11 to 12 (14%). [4]
    • Students with low self-perceived socio-economic status (SES) (14%) were less likely to meet the Guidelines than students with high self-perceived SES (25%). [4]

Adults

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults aged 18 years and older accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity each week. [7]

In Ottawa:

  • About two-thirds (65%) of residents aged 18 years and older were physically active at or above the recommended guidelines in 2015 to 2016. [8]
  • Adults 65 years of age and older (49%) were less likely to report meeting the physical activity guidelines than younger adults (20 to 44 years of age: 69%; 45 to 64 years of age: 60%). [8]

Outdoor Physical Activity

Participating in outdoor physical activity or play has a number of health benefits (e.g., self-reported mental wellbeing). [9-13] Furthermore, persons who spend more time outdoors tend to be more active and spend less time being sedentary. [14]

In Ottawa:

  • In 2017, 30% of students in Grades 7 to 12 did not play actively outside on any of the five school days prior to the survey, which is higher than that for Ontario-less-Ottawa (25%). [4]
  • More girls (38%) than boys (23%) did not play outside on any of the five school days prior to the survey. [4]
  • Students in Grades 9 to 10 (34%) and 11 to 12 (37%) were more likely than students in Grades 7 to 8 (17%) to not play actively outside on any of the five previous school days. [4]
  • Students with low self-perceived socio-economic status (SES) (40%) were more likely than students with high self-perceived SES (26%) to not play actively outside in the five previous school days. [4]

Sedentary Behaviour Data

Youth Sedentary Behaviour
The Canadian 24–Hour Movement Guidelines recommend children and youth accumulate no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time (e.g., playing video games, watching tv, surfing the internet). [6]

In Ottawa:

  • 59% of students (Grades 7 to 12) reported exceeding the recreational screen time guidelines in the 7 days prior to the survey in 2017. This is the same as Ontario-less-Ottawa (59%). [4]
  • Students in Grades 7 to 8 (50%) were less likely than students in Grades 9 to 10 (62%) and 11 to 12 (63%) to exceed the recreational screen time guidelines. [4]

Sleep Data

 Youth Sleep
Sleep is a fundamental part of healthy growth and development among children and youth. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that in addition to high levels of physical activity and low levels of sedentary behaviour, children and youth need sufficient sleep each day to support healthy growth and development. For children 5 to 13 years of age, 9 to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep are recommended. For children 14 to 17 years of age, 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep are recommended. The Guidelines also recommend consistent bed and wake-up times. [6]

In Ottawa:

  • Over half (56%) of youth reported that they were sleeping less than 8 hours on an average school night in 2017. Girls (62%), youth in older grades, and students from families with lower socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to report getting less sleep on school nights (Figure 3).
  • 14% of youth aged 12 to 17 years had difficulty getting to sleep most of the time or all of the time (Table 4).
  • 63% of youth aged 12 to 17 years mostly or always find their sleep refreshing (Table 4).
  • 67% of youth never or rarely have difficulty staying awake when they want to (Table 4).

Figure 3. Percent of students who reported sleeping less than 8 hours on an average school night by socio-demographics, Ottawa, 2017

 Horizontal bar chart of the Percent of students who report sleeping less than 8 hours on an average school night by socio-economic status in Ottawa, 2017

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 3

Ottawa Public Health. Public Health Monitoring of Risk Factors in Ontario – OSDUHS (2017), Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.  

  • The 2017 data used in this section are from the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and administered by the Institute for Social Research, York University. Its contents and interpretation are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) is the longest ongoing biennial school survey in Canada, and the only province-wide survey of this population. The 2017 statistics are based on a random representative sample of over 1,400 Ottawa students enrolled in any of the four publicly funded school boards in Ggrades 7 through 12.
  • Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
  • SES=family socioeconomic status
 Data Table for Figure 3
Table 3. Percent of students who reported sleeping less than 8 hours on an average school night by socio-demographics, Ottawa, 2017
Socio-demographic IndicatorPercent of Youth Sleeping Less than 8 Hours a Night95% Confidence Intervals
Ottawa 56.2% 51.1% - 61.0%
Ontario-less-Ottawa 59.4% 56.9% - 61.8%
Girls 62.2% 55.8% - 68.1%
Boys 50.5% 44.5% - 56.5%
Grades 7 to 8 30.3% 26.8% - 34.1%
Grades 9 to 10 58.8% 50.7% - 66.5%
Grades 11 to 12 74.1% 64.4% - 81.9%
Low SES 65.5% 56.7% - 73.3%
High SES 52.3% 47.1% - 57.5%

 

Table 4. Youth sleep indicators in Ottawa, 2015-16.
IndicatorMeasureOttawa Data
Difficulty getting to sleep  % of youth aged 12 to 17 years who had difficulty getting to sleep most or all of the time 14%
Sleep quality  % of youth aged 12 to 17 years who mostly or always find their sleep refreshing 63%
Drowsiness % of youth aged 12 to 17 years who never or rarely find it difficult to stay awake  67%
 Data Source and Notes for Table 4

Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2015/16. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada

  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.

 Adult Sleep

Not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep is associated with poor health outcomes like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, poor mental health and poor well-being. For adults aged 18 to 64 years, 7 to 9 hours are recommended. For adults aged 65 years and older, 7 to 8 hours are recommended. [15]
  • Just over half (55%) of Ottawa adults aged 18 years or older reported that they usually sleep for 7 or more hours a night in 2015 to 2016 (Table 4).
  • 15% of adults aged 18 years or older had difficulty getting to sleep most of the time or all of the time (Table 4).
  • 13% of adults aged 18 years or older rarely or never find their sleep refreshing (Table 4).
Table 4. Adult sleep indicators in Ottawa, 2015-16
IndicatorMeasureOttawa Data
Nighttime sleep amount % of residents aged 18 years or older who usually sleep less than 7 hours each night 42%
Nighttime sleep amount % of residents aged 18 years or older who usually sleep 7 or more hours each night 55%
Difficulty getting to sleep  % of residents aged 18 years or older who have  difficulty getting to sleep most or all of the time  15%
Sleep quality  % of residents aged 18 years or older who never or rarely find their sleep refreshing 13%
Sleep quality  % of residents aged 18 years or older who mostly or always find their sleep refreshing 59%
Drowsiness % of residents aged 18 years or older who find it difficult to stay awake most or all of the time  5%*
 Data Source and Notes for Table 4
Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2015/16. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada
  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.
  • *Interpret with caution – high sampling variability

Reports on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep

Healthy Eating, Active Living and Healthy Weights in Ottawa, 2012

The Healthy Eating, Active Living and Healthy Weights in Ottawa, 2012 report is an epidemiological overview of three of the five major risk factors associated with chronic diseases: healthy eating; physical activity and healthy weights.

The Healthy Eating, Active Living and Healthy Weights in Ottawa [PDF 9 MB]

References

References

  1. Bude Bingham P. Minding our bodies literature review. Ontario; 2009.
  2. Stanton R, Happel B, Reaburn P. The mental health benefits of regular physical activity, and its role in preventing future depressive illness. Nursing: Research and Reviews. 2014;4:45-52.
  3. Warburton, D. C. A systematic review of the evidence for Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2010; 7(39). 
  4. Ottawa Public Health. Public Health Monitoring of Risk Factors in Ontario – OSDUHS (2017), Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.
  5. Ottawa Public Health. Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017.
  6. Tremblay, M.S., et al. 2016. Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 41(Suppl. 3).
  7. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults ages 18 years or older. 2011. 
  8. Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2015/16. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada.

  9. Gill T. The benefits of children’s engagement with nature: A systematic literature review. Child Youth Environ 2014;24(2):1034. doi: 10.7721/chilyoutenvi.24.2.0010
  10. Tremblay MS, Gray C, Babcock S, Barnes J, Bradstreet CC, Carr D, et al. Position statement on active outdoor play. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2015; 12:6475–505. PMID: 26062040. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120606475.
  11. Liu J, Sekine M, Zheng X, et al. Outdoor physical activity and its relation with selfreported health in Japanese children: results from the Toyama birth cohort study. Child: Care, Health & Development [serial online]. November 2015;41(6):920-927. Available from: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 14, 2018.
  12. Richard Larouche, Didier Garriguet, Mark S. Tremblay, Outdoor time, physical activity and sedentary time among young children: The 2012–2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Can J Public Health 2016;107(6):e500–e506 doi: 10.17269/CJPH.107.5700
  13. Thompson Coon, J.; Boddy, K.; Stein, K.; Whear, R.; Barton, J.; Depledge, M. Does participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45, 1761–1772.
  14. Gray C, Gibbons R, Larouche R, Sandseter EBH, Bienenstock A, Brussoni M, et al. What is the relationship between outdoor time and physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and physical fitness in children? A systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2015;12:6455–74. PMID: 26062039. doi: 10. 3390/ijerph120606455.
  15. Hirshkowitz M WK, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation's updated sleep duration recommendations: Final report. Sleep Health. 2015;1:233-43.

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