Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep (PASS) Indicator Framework for surveillance

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

Learn about surveillance data the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reports on for physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep. Find out why they use it and how you can access this information.

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About the PASS Indicator Framework

PHAC is working on a new way of reporting on the physical activity levels of Canadians. In the past, routine reporting in Canada focused on moderate-to-vigorous levels of physical activity. Recent research has found activities at all levels of intensity can impact health. This includes moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but also light physical activity, sedentary time (such as sitting) as well as sleep.

PHAC has created a list of key health indicators called the PASS Indicator Framework. They have worked with partners and key experts to develop this framework based on the latest evidence.

The goal of the framework is to provide Canadians with up-to-date, useful information to help them make good health choices.

Who would find this framework data useful

The information in the framework should be referenced by those creating programs and policies that will impact the health of Canadians. This includes:

  • program and policy makers
  • non-governmental organizations
  • medical professionals

Where the data comes from

The data provided in the framework mostly comes from a variety of Canadian health surveys. However, there are gaps in the data available. We will continue to look for ways to fill these gaps through the use of new and innovative data sources, like mapping technology and municipal databases.

Types of information included

Information provided in the framework includes:

  • levels of activity intensity, including:
    • moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
    • light physical activity
    • no movement (being sedentary)
    • sleep
  • places where activities occur, such as:
    • home
    • community
    • work or school
    • transportation between places
  • factors that influence activities, like:
    • personal characteristics
    • family and social relationships
    • built environment and society, such as:
      • access to parks
      • presence of bike lanes

Examples of indicators included in the PASS Indicator Framework include:

  • percentage of youth who walk or cycle to work or school
  • average number of hours per week adults and youth spend on a computer doing activities such as:
    • emailing
    • watching videos
    • using the Internet
    • playing computer games
  • average number of hours of sleep per day reported by:
    • children
    • youth
    • adults

Many parts of the PASS Indicator Framework apply to adults as well as children and youth. Some indicators only apply to a specific age group since the people in these groups differ in how:

  • they behave
  • their bodies function
  • they interact within the settings they live

The PASS indicator framework tags 55 unique indicators, with 30 indicators overlapping the two age groups. There are:

  • 44 indictors for children and youth (aged 5 to 17)
  • 41 indicators for adults (aged 18 or more)

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