(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.

Just Posted

WATCH: Tofino byelection candidates respond to community concerns at forum

Tofino will vote in a municipal byelection on Nov. 2.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

Tofino byelection candidates explain why they’re running

Town to vote on Nov. 2 to fill council seat left vacant by tragic death of Coun. Dorothy Baert

West Coast becoming a vibrant bike community

“This area has everything and more to offer for riding enthusiasts of all diverse ages.”

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read