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Fight against Sedentariness and Promotion of Physical Activity

Sedentariness: A Serious Problem

International public health and health promotion authorities have declared that sedentariness is a significant risk factor for health. The aging of the population, increasing automation and passive recreation are all general trends that promote sedentariness. For the sedentary individual, increasing their level of activity even slightly accomplishes a great deal, considering the resulting benefits. In fact, several studies indicate an association between physical inactivity and a number of health problems including heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and colon cancer. Broad-scale mobilization is imperative to significantly improve the situation and ensure that a larger number of Québec citizens adopt a physically active lifestyle.

Kino-Québec: Leader in the Promotion of Physical Activity in Québec

Kino-Québec is a government program in existence since 1978. It is managed by three partners: the Secrétariat au loisir et au sport of the Ministère des Affaires municipales, du Sport et du Loisir, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and the regional health and social services boards. Its mission is to promote a physically active lifestyle in order to contribute to the well-being of the population of Québec. Kino-Québec’s implementation is based on a novel approach that calls on local organizations to play a leadership role, while providing them with support. The provincial and regional organizations influence each other both in planning and in implementing initiatives.

2000-2005 Kino-Québec Action Plan

Objectives

By 2010, Kino-Québec’s objective is to reduce from 46% to 41% the percentage of Québec residents aged 15 and older who are not engaging in enough recreational or other physical activity for it to have a positive impact on their health (a relative decrease of 10%, which corresponds to the Canadian objective).

Expected Results for 2000-2005

More specifically, Kino-Québec will orient its activities to decrease the prevalence of sedentariness in the following three age groups: youth aged 10 to 19, adults aged 25 to 44 and adults aged 55 and older.

Moreover, from now until 2005, Kino-Québec has decided to prioritize two particular groups: youth aged 10 to 19 and adults aged 25 to 44. By making these two groups a priority, Kino-Québec is demonstrating its intention to prevent or delay as much as possible the gradual decline in physical activity, a phenomenon that appears with the onset of adolescence in part of the population.

Areas of Activity by Target Group

  • Youth aged 10 to 19
    Schools, municipalities, community organizations and sports associations are ideal settings in which to target young people. Through educational and awareness activities, the production of informative documents and the establishment of incentive programs, Kino-Québec encourages its partners in these settings to offer physical and social activities that promote participation in safe physical activity. These may include physical education or related courses at school, a variety of services including outdoor activities, skateboarding or inline skating parks, measures that promote active transportation, etc. Publicity campaigns and contests will reinforce partners’ activities.
  • Adults aged 25 to 44
    Workplaces, municipalities and the healthcare network are ideal settings in which to encourage adults to engage in physical activity. Through educational and awareness activities, the production of informative documents and the establishment of incentive programs, Kino-Québec encourages its partners in these settings to create environments that promote physical activity and active transportation. Kino-Québec also encourages municipalities to make their sites and facilities more accessible and promote their use. These include bicycle paths, pools, tennis courts, skating rinks, etc. Finally, certain regions have carried out pilot projects with healthcare professionals to provide them with tools to integrate physical activity counselling into their practices.
  • Adults aged 55 and Older
    This is a heterogeneous group, given the varying levels of functional ability of the individuals that compose it. For this reason, Kino-Québec has divided it into two subgroups: pre-retirement or newly retired individuals (aged 55 to 64) and older seniors (aged 65 and older). Kino-Québec is documenting the participation in physical activity and the consumer habits of 55 to 64 year-olds to be able to identify possible solutions in order to improve the services offered to them. For the 65 and older group, Kino-Québec is solidifying its existing program (Viactive) by working with various community partners (seniors’ groups, CLSCs, community organizations, etc.).

A Few Statistics

  • On average during a given season in a year, 46% of the population aged 15 and older does not attain the recommended level of physical activity.
  • Summer remains the season when the population is most active, and winter, the least active.
  • The most radical drop in activity occurs between the 15-24 and 25-44 age groups, for both men and women.
  • The number of active individuals has decreased considerably in men aged 65 and older; the trend seems to be the same for women in that age group.
  • The percentage of sedentary individuals has significantly increased in 25-44 year-old men and in women aged 65 and older. Furthermore, this percentage seems to be increasing in all age groups.
  • A large majority of the population expresses their intention to participate in physical activity on a regular basis.

Role of the State in Promoting a Physically Active Lifestyle

The Kino-Québec program is based on inter-ministerial collaboration, networking, initiatives with target populations, broadening the reach of programs through participating partners, publicity campaigns and the establishment of environments that promote physical activity. This is a proven approach, which health promotion experts have confirmed is very effective. The strategies employed by Kino-Québec—the creation of environments that promote physical activity, supported by publicity campaigns—are recognized as effective in the literature and applied in other industrialized countries. In fact, studies show that promoting physical activity is effective when it involves a series of strategies that target both individuals (to motivate them to change their behaviour) and their physical and social environments.

For more information, visit the Kino-Québec Website This page will open in a new window (French only)

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