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Regular physical activity is beneficial for many reasons. Physical activity helps prevent chronic diseases and injuries, increases energy and strength, and decreases stress.1

The Canadian Community Health Survey collects information on individuals’ self-reported physical activity. This information is used to classify individuals as active, moderately active, or inactive. To understand these categories, an active person would walk 60 minutes or more a day, a moderately active person would walk 30 to 59 minutes a day, and an inactive person would walk less than 30 minutes a day. The categories of moderately active and active are often combined when determining the percentage of a population that is engaging in adequate amounts of physical activity. In 2012, 54.5% of individuals in Windsor-Essex County were moderately active or active. Additional physical activity information is presented below.

Table 1: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category, Aged 12 and Older, 2007-2012
  % 95% CI
Active 27.7 25.6-29.9
Moderately Active 22.3 20.5-24.1
Inactive 50.0 47.7-52.4
Table 2: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category, Aged 12 and Older, by Year
  2007
% (95% CI)
2008
% (95% CI)
2009
% (95% CI)
2010
% (95% CI)
2011
% (95% CI)
2012
% (95% CI)
Active 28.1
(23.9-32.6)
25.1
(20.9-29.8)
24.1
(19.8-29.0)
31.2
(25.2-37.8)
28.9
(24.1-34.4)
28.7
(23.8-34.2)
Moderately
Active
21.8
(18.0-26.3)
19.0
(15.2-23.5)
25.9
(21.4-30.9)
20.7
(16.7-25.5)
20.3
(16.6-24.7)
25.8
(20.3-32.2)
Inactive 50.1
(44.8-55.4)
55.9
(50.9-60.9)
50.0
(44.2-55.8)
48.1
(42.0-54.3)
50.7
(45.4-56.1)
45.5
(38.7-52.4)

There is no significant difference in physical activity levels from 2007 to 2012. 

Table 3: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Age and Sex, 2007-2012
  Male
% (95% CI)
Female
% (95% CI)
Both Sexes
% (95% CI)
Age 12 to 19
Active
Moderately Active
Inactive
63.5 (56.2-70.3)
13.9 (10.2-18.7)
22.6 (16.8-29.8)
37.6 (29.9-45.9)
27.3 (20.1-36.0)
35.1 (27.8-43.3)
50.7 (45.1-56.2)
20.5 (16.3-25.4)
28.8 (23.9-34.3)
Age 20 to 44
Active
Moderately Active
Inactive
35.3 (30.3-40.7)
24.5 (20.0-29.5)
40.3 (35.4-45.3)  
24.2 (19.7-29.5)
23.5 (19.4-28.2)
52.3 (46.9-57.7) 
29.8 (26.4-33.5)
24.0 (20.9-27.3)
46.2 (42.4-50.1)
Age 45 to 64
Active
Moderately Active
Inactive
22.8 (17.8-28.8)
22.6 (18.1-27.9)
54.5 (47.9-61.0)
18.1 (13.7-23.6)
21.2 (17.5-25.5)
60.7 (54.4-66.6)
20.5 (17.0-24.5)
21.9 (18.9-25.2)
57.6 (53.0-62.1)
Age 65 and over
Active
Moderately Active
Inactive
26.8 (20.7-34.0)
20.3 (15.9-25.7)
52.9 (46.4-59.2)
11.3 (8.7-14.5)
19.5 (16.1-23.4)
69.3 (64.9-73.3)
18.0 (14.8-21.7)
19.8 (17.2-22.8)
62.2 (58.5-65.7)
All Ages
Active
Moderately Active 
Inactive
33.8 (30.6-37.2)
22.0 (19.4-24.7)
44.3 (41.0-47.6)
21.8 (19.4-24.4)
22.6 (20.3-25.1)
55.7 (52.7-58.6)
27.7 (25.6-29.9)
22.3 (20.5-24.1)
50.0 (47.7-52.4)

Results indicate that women aged 20 to 44 and aged 65 and older are significantly more likely to be inactive, and significantly less likely to be active in comparison to men in the same age categories. 

When youth physical activity is examined, girls and young women aged 12 to 19 are significantly less likely to be active but significantly more likely to be moderately active in comparison to boys and young men of the same age. There is no significant difference in the percentage of girls and boys in this age category who are inactive.

Table 4: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Income Quintile, 2007-2012
  Quintile 1
Lowest Income
% (95% CI)
Quintile 2
% (95%CI)
Quintile 3
% (95% CI)
Quintile 4
% (95% CI)
Quintile 5
Highest Income
% (95% CI)
Active 20.4
(16.7-24.6)
24.1
(20.0-28.8)
29.0
(24.5-34.0)
29.7
(25.2-34.6)
35.0
(29.7-40.8)
Moderately Active 20.1
(16.4-24.4)
17.5
(14.2-21.3)
21.8
(18.1-26.1)
27.3
(22.4-32.7)
24.8
(20.3-29.9)
Inactive 59.6
(54.9-64.1)
58.4
(53.4-63.2)
49.2
(44.2-54.1)
43.1
(38.1-48.2)
40.2
(34.6-46.1)

Individuals in the lowest income quintile are significantly less likely to be active than those in quintiles four and five. Those in quintile two are also significantly less likely to be active than those in the highest income quintile. Those in the lowest income quintile are also more likely to be inactive in comparison to those in quintiles three, four, and five. Those in quintile two are also more likely to be inactive in comparison to those in quintile four and five. 

Table 5: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Education Level, 2007-2012
  Less than Secondary School
% (95% CI)
Secondary School Graduate
% (95% CI)
Some Post-Secondary
% (95% CI)
Post-Secondary Graduate
% (95% CI)
Active 31.8
(28.1-35.8)
25.7
(21.6-30.3)
24.2
(17.7-32.3)
27.1
(24.1-30.3)
Moderately Active 19.5
(16.5-22.9)
22.0
(18.5-26.0)
17.8 E
(12.3-25.1)
24.7
(21.9-27.6)
Inactive 48.7
(44.8-52.6)
52.3
(46.6-57.9)
58.0
(49.7-65.8)
48.3
(44.7-51.9)

Interpret with caution due to high sampling variability. 

There is no difference in physical activity based on education level.

Table 6: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Minority Status, 2007-2012
  White
% (95% CI)
Minority
% (95% CI)
Active 29.3
(26.8-31.9)
18.8
(14.1-24.6)
Moderately Active  22.7
(20.8-24.8)
21.1
(16.2-27.0)
Inactive 48.0
(45.2-50.8)
60.1
(53.5-66.3)

There are significant differences in physical activity by minority status, with those who have a white ethnic background being more likely to be active in comparison to those who report a minority background. Individuals with a minority background are significantly more likely to be inactive.

Table 7: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Immigration Status, 2007-2012
  Born in Canada
% (95% CI)
Immigrant
% (95% CI)
Active 30.7
(28.2-33.4)
18.2
(14.5-22.5)
Moderately Active 24.2
(22.0-26.5)
17.1
(13.5-21.4)
Inactive 45.1
(42.3-47.9)
64.8
(59.8-69.4)

There are differences in physical activity depending upon whether one was born in Canada or immigrated to Canada. Individuals who immigrated to Canada are significantly less likely to be active and are more likely to be inactive than individuals who were born in Canada.

Table 8: Percentage of Individuals in Each Physical Activity Category by Rural or Population Centre Residence, 2007-2012
  Rural
% (95 % CI)
Population Centre
% (95% CI)
Active 26.1
(22.1-30.6)
28.0
(25.7-30.3)
Moderately Active 26.4
(22.3-30.9)
21.5
(19.7-23.5)
Inactive 47.5
(42.0-53.0)
50.5
(47.9-53.1)

There is no difference in physical activity level based on whether an individual lives in a rural area or not.

Data Notes

  1. Data Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, [2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012], Share File, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
  2. The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) collects data through participant self-report. Data collected through self-report can be biased due to inaccurate memory or because of social desirability. Social desirability happens when individuals answer questions in a manner that they think will be viewed favourably, and is more likely to occur when individuals are answering sensitive questions.
  3. 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. The 95% confidence interval provides a range within which we are 95% confident that the true population proportion (%) falls. If a stated result percentage is 18% with a 95% CI of 15.0-21.0%, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage lies within the range of 15.0% to 21.0%. The wider the confidence interval, the more variability there is, and the less precise the estimate.
  4. Data is for the Windsor-Essex County population aged 12 and over.
  5. Not Stated and Don’t Know responses were excluded from analysis.
  6. Significant differences were determined based on non-overlapping confidence intervals.
  7. The physical activity categories presented here were computed by calculating an individuals’ daily average level of energy expenditure. Active = an average of 3.0 kilocalories per kg of body weight per day (kcal/kg/day) which is like walking for 60 minute or more a day, moderately active = an average of 1.5 to 2.9 kcal/kg/day which is like walking 30 to 59 minutes a day, and inactive = an average of less than 1.5 kcal/kg/day which is like walking less than 30 minutes a day.
  8. Understanding income quintiles used in this report: The Canadian Community Health Survey contains a variable that groups Windsor-Essex survey respondents into one of 10 income deciles. Each decile contains 10% of the sample population. So that the lowest or first decile contains the 10% of the population that has the lowest household income, and the highest or 10th decile contains the 10% of the sample population that has the highest household income. The calculation takes into account reported household income, low-income cut-off values, household size, and community size. For the purposes of this report, deciles were used to create quintiles for ease of analysis and interpretation (quintiles are fifths, and so each quintile contains 20% of the sample population). The lowest two deciles were combined to make the lowest quintile, the third and fourth deciles were combined to create the second lowest quintile, and so forth, with the two highest income deciles being combined to make the highest income quintile.
  9. Non-Minority was defined as an individual who reported that their ethnicity was White. All other ethnicities were coded as minority.
  10. Immigrant was defined as someone who had ever immigrated to Canada.
  11. A population centre is defined by Statistics Canada as an “area with a population of at least 1,000 and no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre. The term 'population centre' (POPCTR) replaces the term 'urban area' (UA). Population centres are classified into three groups, depending on the size of their population.
  12. The geographical area of Windsor-Essex County represents the population of the entire county of Essex and includes all municipalities within the county.
  13. Age standardized statistics available upon request.

Reference

1. Public Health Agency of Canada (2011). Physical Activity. Retrieved from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/index-eng.php