Overview Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring Program

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CFLRI’s Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring Program

What is the Physical Activity and Sport Monitoring Program?

The Physical Activity Monitor and Sport Monitoring Program (PASMP) takes a comprehensive population health approach to understanding and changing physical activity levels for the population as a whole, in the context of their everyday lives. The Program is based on scientific theoretical models.

The system builds on and incorporates data, whenever possible, from other large-scale national data collection vehicles in order to increase the breadth and depth of information to inform strategies.

The Monitoring Program achieves these goals by gathering and synthesizing information from multiple data sets, including:

  1. participation data;
  2. enabling and constraining factors (intrapersonal, interpersonal, organization/setting and community/social levels) from the individual’s perspective from the Physical Activity Monitors and Sport Monitors;
  3. activity level data for children and youth from CANPLAY, and
  4. enabling or constraining factors in settings (school, workplace, community) from CFLRI’s periodic system-capacity studies.

These four sources form a comprehensive picture of physical activity and sport participation in Canada: The prevalence data on physical activity and sport participation is analyzed and interpreted within the context of key information on enabling and constraining factors influencing participation in activity and on the policies, practices and environment of key settings gathered from surveys of settings.

Informing Policy

The Monitoring Program has evolved over time. In 1997, physical activity and sport benchmark indicators were established to enable governments to be accountable for expenditures with respect to the outcomes and impacts achieved by the investment of public dollars in support of physical activity and sport.

The Monitoring Program provides information to guide the development of strategies to increase physical activity levels and sport participation rates.

In 2002, the CFLRI began monitoring changes in the levels of these indicators over time. As a result, the Program changed from the Benchmarks Program to the Monitoring Program. The helps policy makers:

  • measure progress in increasing the population levels of physical activity and sport participation
  • provide information for setting policies and strategies for joint action
  • monitor the overall results of implementation strategies and initiatives within the joint governmental framework. (Federal, Provincial and Territorial Fitness and Recreation Committee, 1996, Physical Inactivity: A Framework for Action. Ottawa, ON: Health Canada.)

Key elements of the Monitoring framework

Capacity of the system to provide opportunities
Determinants of participation
Participation levels
Contribution to aims and outcomes


Physical environment*
Social environment*
Policies and supports

Physical activity
Physical recreation sport


* Environments include: home, work, school, community, health care and other systems with which individuals come into contact.

The program also encompasses

  • settings and channels: work, school, home, community, health care system, recreation system, government levels, media
  • population sub-groups: age (including youth and older adults), sex, education, income (including children in poverty), cultural groups (where possible)
  • equitable access including actual level of initiatives, services and opportunities, versus perceptions of level, actual use, and the factors encouraging and detracting from usage.