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The 2022 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth: Focus on the COVID-19 pandemic impact and equity-deserving groups

  • Kuzik, Nicholas1, 2
  • Cameron, Christine3
  • Carson, Valerie4
  • Chaput, Jean-Philippe1, 2
  • Colley, Rachel5
  • Doiron, Joe6
  • Faulkner, Guy7
  • Janssen, Ian8
  • Saunders, Travis9
  • Spence, John C.4
  • Tucker, Patricia10
  • Vanderloo, Leigh M.10, 11
  • Tremblay, Mark S.1, 2
  • 1 Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON , (Canada)
  • 2 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON , (Canada)
  • 3 Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, Ottawa, ON , (Canada)
  • 4 Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB , (Canada)
  • 5 Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON , (Canada)
  • 6 Independent Practitioner, Dartmouth, NS , (Canada)
  • 7 School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC , (Canada)
  • 8 Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON , (Canada)
  • 9 Department of Applied Human Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE , (Canada)
  • 10 School of Occupational Therapy, Western University, London, ON , (Canada)
  • 11 ParticipACTION, Toronto, ON , (Canada)
Published Article
Frontiers in Public Health
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
May 26, 2023
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1172168
  • Public Health
  • Review


Introduction The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive national assessment of physical activity and related behaviors, characteristics, and opportunities for children and youth. The 2022 Report Card assigned grades based on data gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect this extraordinary time-period in Canada. Further, while not graded, efforts were made to summarize key findings for early years children and those identifying as: having a disability, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+, newcomers to Canada, racialized, or girls. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the 2022 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Methods The best available physical activity data captured during the whole COVID-19 pandemic was synthesized across 14 different indicators in four categories. The 2022 Report Card Research Committee assigned letter grades (i.e., A–F) based on expert consensus of the evidence. Synthesis Grades were assigned for: Daily Behaviors (Overall Physical Activity: D; Active Play: D−; Active Transportation: C−; Organized Sport: C+; Physical Education: Incomplete [INC]; Sedentary Behaviors: F; Sleep: B; 24-Hour Movement Behaviors: F), Individual Characteristics (Physical Literacy: INC; Physical Fitness: INC), Spaces and Places (Household: C, School: B−, Community and Environment: B), and Strategies and Investments (Government: B−). Compared to the 2020 Report Card, the COVID-19 specific grades increased for Active Play and Active Transportation; and decreased for Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors, Organized Sport, and Community and Environment. There were many data gaps for equity-deserving groups. Conclusion During the COVID-19 pandemic, the grade for Overall Physical Activity decreased from a D+ (2020) to a D, coinciding with decreases in grades reflecting fewer opportunities for sport and community/facility-based activities as well as higher levels of sedentary behaviors. Fortunately, improvements in Active Transportation and Active Play during COVID-19 prevented a worse shift in children’s health behaviors. Efforts are needed to improve physical activity for children and youth during and post-pandemic, with a greater emphasis on equity-deserving groups.

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