New HEAL Study Examines Weather-Related Factors on Physical Activity Levels of Children from Rural Communities

A team of researchers led by Brenton Button with Tayyab Shah, Andrew Clark, Piotr Wilk, and Jason Gilliland published a study entitled: “Examining weather-related factors on physical activity levels of children from rural communities.”

The objective of the study was to examine the influence of weather on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and light physical activity (LPA) levels of children aged 8–14 years from rural communities, an understudied Canadian population.

In order to study this, children (n = 90) from four communities in rural Northwestern Ontario were recruited to participate in this study between September and December 2016. Children’s MVPA and LPA were measured using an Actical accelerometer and demographic data were gathered from surveys of children and their parents. Weather data were collected from the closest weather station. Cross-classified regression models were used to assess the relationship between weather and children’s MVPA and LPA.

Results showed that boys accumulated more MVPA than girls (b = 26.38, p < 0.01), children were more active on weekdays as compared with weekends (b = − 16.23, p < 0.01), children were less active on days with precipitation (b = − 22.88, p < 0.01), and higher temperature led to a significant increase in MVPA (b = 1.33, p  < 0.01). As children aged, they accumulated less LPA (b = − 9.36, p < 0.01) and children who perceived they had higher levels of physical functioning got more LPA (b = 25.18, p = 0.02). Similar to MVPA, children had higher levels of LPA on weekdays (b = − 37.24, p < 0.01) as compared to weekend days and children accumulated less LPA (b = −50.01, p < 0.01) on days with rain.

The study findings indicate that weather influences rural children’s MVPA and LPA. Future research is necessary to incorporate these findings into interventions to increase rural children’s overall PA levels and improve their overall health.


Citation: Brenton Button, Tayyab Shah, Andrew Clark, Biotr Wilk and Jason Gilliland (2021). Examining weather-related factors on physical activity levels of children from rural communities. Canadian Journal of Public Health 112, 107-114;

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