Trends in physical activity research in Canada

Herman, Katya M.; Ardern, Chris I.; Mason, Caitlin; Brien, Susan E.; Katzmarzyk, Peter T.
June 2007
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Jun2007, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p400
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to assess Canada’s physical activity research productivity by (i) assessing Canada’s contribution to global physical activity research, (ii) determining trends in Canadian physical activity research over time, and (iii) identifying research areas of greater or lesser representation. A Medline search was performed to identify physical activity research published between 1990 and 2005 from Canadian institutions or using Canadian data. Trends over time were plotted and compared with global physical activity research patterns. Original and review articles were sorted based on subject characteristics, nature of physical activity contribution, province and institution of origin, and research area or “pillar”. A total of 5302 Canadian physical activity articles were identified for the period 1990–2005, representing 4.9% of global physical activity research. After manual sorting of abstracts, 3829 relevant articles were included for further analysis. A majority of Canada’s physical activity research has come from Ontario (49%), followed by Quebec (21%), Alberta (10%), and British Columbia (10%). Where physical activity was the primary research focus, the biomedical and clinical pillars each accounted for 39% of Canadian research, with lesser contributions from population health (14%) and health services (2%). Physical activity research productivity in Canada has paralleled global trends over the last 15 years. There is currently less physical activity research being conducted in population health and health services than in the biomedical and clinical areas; however, these areas play an important role in the development of public health policy and programs targeted at reducing the burden of physical inactivity and obesity in Canada.


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