How active are youth around the world? University of Lethbridge study wants to find out

A member of the University of Lethbridge public health department is leading a team to determine how active youth are across the globe. Eloise Therien has more on how they plan to use data from 14 countries to better understand how to promote physical activity.

A team of researchers, led by University of Lethbridge associate professor of public health Dr. Richard Larouche, is looking to find out just how physically active youth are across the world.

An app-based questionnaire will be developed for use in 14 different low, medium, and high income countries across all continents, including Canada, Brazil, Spain, Nigeria, India, and Thailand.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research has provided $1.5 million in funding for the study.

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“What we need to develop is effective ways to promote physical activities, which has been a challenge for a long time,” Larouche related.

“Through these global comparisons we can see where some countries are succeeding, where some countries are not.”

The study will take place over a three-year period, involving researchers from all countries included in the study.

Ultimately, the questionnaire will be answered by 7,000 children and youth aged five to 17.

Along with the questions, participants will wear a monitor similar to a fitness step counter to track the intensity of their movements.

“As we know, activity is super important for kids, and we also know nowadays kids in our country are not as active as we would hope they would be,” explained Diane Gallagher, the projects coordinator with Lethbridge College’s Be Fit For Life centre.

“So I think it’s really valuable for us to look at what other countries are doing.”

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