Scientific basis for Canadian Physical activity guidelines

In this paper, Warburton et al. reviews the scientific evidence for the adult Canadian physical activity guidelines.


This systematic review examines critically the scientific basis for Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for Healthy Active Living for adults. Particular reference is given to the dose-response relationship between physical activity and premature all-cause mortality and seven chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) and osteoporosis). The strength of the relationship between physical activity and specific health outcomes is evaluated critically. Literature was obtained through searching electronic databases (e.g., MEDLINE, EMBASE), cross-referencing, and through the authors’ knowledge of the area. For inclusion in our systematic review articles must have at least 3 levels of physical activity and the concomitant risk for each chronic disease. The quality of included studies was appraised using a modified Downs and Black tool. Through this search we identified a total of 254 articles that met the eligibility criteria related to premature allcause mortality (N = 70), cardiovascular disease (N = 49), stroke (N = 25), hypertension (N = 12), colon cancer (N = 33), breast cancer (N = 43), type 2 diabetes (N = 20), and osteoporosis (N = 2). Overall, the current literature supports clearly the dose-response relationship between physical activity and the seven chronic conditions identified. Moreover, higher levels of physical activity reduce the risk for premature all-cause mortality. The current Canadian guidelines appear to be appropriate to reduce the risk for the seven chronic conditions identified above and all-cause mortality.

Warburton et al. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2010, 7:39

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George Cho