Moving is good for your health, science has proven it time and time again. However, low levels of physical activity remain a public health problem for all age groups combined. What else can be done to help people be more active? Answer: better equip… research!
What do we lack in terms of knowledge to help Mr. and Mrs. Get more exercise?
Professor of Medicine Matthieu Belanger asked himself this question several times. As a lifestyle epidemiologist, he has been following groups of people for several years to see how their physical activity levels change over time, what influences these changes, and what impact this has on their health.
In his New Brunswick research lab, in Moncton, on the UdeS campus, he has developed an entire research program on this subject with the goal of developing effective interventions to combat physical inactivity.
But I wanted to make sure that my research program meets the needs of those who work in this field, to implement initiatives to make people more active.
Professor Matthieu Belanger
Together with his small team, he launched a Canada-wide study in 2019 to better understand what interferes with sports and physical activity. “The goal is to get more Canadians into sports and physical activity,” he explains. To this end, priority topics for research on such behavior have been identified. »
To study every time to score goals
What’s the point of knowing how to shoot if the game is played in total darkness? To score goals, you need to know where to aim. This is true in sports, but it is also true in research.
“In order to identify ways to make people more physically active, we thought it would be appropriate to consult with people in the field who are using the results of sports and physical activity research to help more people become active. »
Professor Belanger and his team have become true intelligence officers for the research community in this area.
First, they invited 24 key players in the promotion of sports and physical activity in Canada to a workshop in Moncton: “We consulted with people from government and non-government organizations, from sports, the health sector, the education sector and the social development sector. . This step allowed us to identify 68 priority research topics. »
The surveys then allowed to identify the most relevant topics according to three criteria, including the level of current knowledge on the topic, the relevance of the topic and its importance.
“We have worked with groups of Canadian experts specializing in the transfer of knowledge in the field of sports and physical activity, such as the Sports Documentation Center. A rigorous scientific approach was used. »
What research should be paid attention to in the next few years
1. Question about financial support athletes and sports organizations
2. Strategies communication effective in sports and physical activity
3. consequences of refusal sports or physical activity, especially on mental health
4. Characteristics best interventions for sports and physical activity
5. Physical activity and sports among native people
6. Promotionsafe, inclusive and quality experience in sports and physical activity
7. Stay committed volunteers in sports and physical activity
8. Exchange knowledge between the research community and people in the field
Communicate well what you already know
An interesting fact: most of the identified priorities are related to the problem of communication. “People on the ground have a hard time getting 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 in order to really communicate the importance of physical activity. »
The Canadian-wide study was published March 22 in the scientific journal CMAJOpen. In the future, Prof. Belanger and his team will be able to count on the support of various groups, including the Documentation Center for Sports, ParticipAction, Le sport c’est pour la vie, to disseminate their results more widely. Teamwork that can help reduce health problems in Canada caused by lack of exercise.
About Professor Matthieu Belanger
Matthew Belanger is a professor in the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine and Public Health (FMSS) at UdeS University Moncton. He is also director of research for the New Brunswick Health Information Center.
Specializing in the epidemiology of lifestyle habits, he is actively involved in several CIHR patient-centered research strategy initiatives.
The research group he created is part of the MATCH project, which measured the activity of 936 young people over several years.