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Canada’s Physical Activity Levels Among Youth (CANPLAY) Survey

What is the CANPLAY Survey?

This major national survey examines physical activity levels of children and youth, aged 5 to 19 objectively, using a pedometer to measure the number of steps taken daily. These data are critical to assist policy makers and other key decision makers to develop long term solutions and programs for a more active and healthier younger generation.

CANPLAY is the first nation-wide study of its kind.

Since 2005, approximately 3,000 to 10,000 children and youth per year have been randomly selected from across Canada and invited to participate. This landmark study provides provincial and territorial level data.


This survey has been a venture of the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council. The telephone survey is conducted by the Institute for Social Research, York University, on behalf of the CFLRI.

How are the data collected?

The study has employed the same physical activity measure and methods since 2005 and provides comparable estimates over time:

  • A telephone-based survey is used for recruitment and for a brief telephone survey. During the telephone interview, interviewers directly capture data on factors associated with physical activity using the CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviews) system.
  • If respondents consent to participation in the pedometer portion of the study, they are sent a pedometer package by mail.
  • Participants are asked to wear a pedometer for 7 days and to log their steps daily.