Moving is good for your health, science has proven this time and time again. However, low levels of physical activity remain a public health problem for all age groups combined. What more can be done to help people be more active? Answer: better equip… investigate!
Mr. and Mrs. What do you lack in terms of information to help everyone exercise more?
Mathieu Bélanger, a professor of medicine, has repeatedly asked himself this question. As a lifestyle epidemiologist, she has been following groups of individuals over several years to see how physical activity levels change over time, what influences these changes, and what impact this has on their health.
UdeS’s New Brunswick research laboratory in the Moncton region has developed a full research program on this topic with the aim of developing effective interventions against physical inactivity.
But I wanted to make sure my research program met the needs of those working in the field to implement initiatives to make people more active.
Professor Mathieu Belanger
With his junior team, he launched a pan-Canadian study in 2019 aimed at better understanding what hinders participation in sport and physical activity. “The goal is to get more Canadians involved in sport and physical activity,” he explains. To achieve this, priority themes for research on these behaviors have been identified. »
For the work done to score goals every time
What good is knowing how to shoot a basket if the game is pitch black? To score a goal, you have to know where to aim. This is true in sports, but it is also true in research.
“To identify ways to make people more physically active, we thought it would be appropriate for us to consult with those in the field who are using the results of research in sport and physical activity to help more people adopt an active lifestyle.”
Professor Bélanger and his team have acted as true scouts for the research community in this field.
First, they invited 24 key players promoting sport and physical activity in Canada to a workshop in Moncton: “We consulted with people from government and non-governmental organizations, sport, the health sector, the education sector, and the social development sector. It allowed us to define the research theme. »
The surveys then made it possible to target the most pressing themes based on three criteria, including current knowledge of the topic, relevance and importance of the topic.
“We have worked with Canadian expert groups specializing in knowledge transfer in sport and physical activity, such as the Sports Documentation Center. A rigorous science-based approach was used. »
What research to look at in the next few years?
1. problem financial support athletes and sports organizations
2. Strategies Contact effective around sports and physical activity
3. consequences of leaving a sport or physical activity, especially on mental health
4. Features best interventions for participation in sports and physical activity
5. Participation in physical activity and sports among them local people
6. Incentivesafe, inclusive and quality experiences in sports and physical activity
7. Maintaining the commitment volunteers in sports and physical activity
8. Change information between the research community and people in the field
Tell what you know well
Interesting fact: Most of the priorities set are related to a communication issue. “People on the ground find it difficult to get the message across. There is a lot of information out there, but we don’t know how to effectively communicate this information to the public to truly communicate the importance of physical activity.”
The Canada-wide study was published March 22 in the scientific journal CMAJOpen. Going forward, Professor Bélanger and his team will be able to count on the support of various groups, including the Center de Documentation pour le sport, ParticipAction, Le sport c’est pour la vie, to disseminate their results more widely. Teamwork that can help reduce health problems caused by lack of exercise in Canada.
About Professor Mathieu Bélanger
Mathieu Bélanger is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at UdeS’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMSS) in the Moncton region. He is also the Research Director of the New Brunswick Center for Medical Information.
Specializing in the epidemiology of lifestyle habits, he has been particularly involved in several initiatives of CIHR’s patient-centred research strategy.
The research team he founded comes from the MATCH project, which has been measuring the effectiveness of 936 young people for several years.