3.8.7 Average number of hours spent in sedentary activity per day among Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17 years, by gender and age group, Canada, 2012 and 2013

Age 5 to 11 years Age 12 to 17 years
Boys 7.7 9.2
Girls 7.6 9.3

Note: Sedentary behaviour consists of any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤ 1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 2012 and 2013.

The Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that children and youth between 5 and 17 yeas of age have no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time and limit sitting for extended periods.

Canadian girls between the ages of 5 and 11 spend 7.6 hours on average in sedentary activities per day. Boys spend 7.7 hours on average in sedentary activities.

The percentages are even higher for older children/youth.

Canadian girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years spend 9.3 hours in sedentary activities. Boys spend on average 9.2 hours in sedentary activities.

Research indicates that limiting screen time among children and youth is associated with improved body composition, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, school performance, self-esteem and social behaviours.1

1Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. 2012.