This paper aimed to compare the report card grades among 15 Asian jurisdictions participating in the Global Matrix 4.0, and to explore differences in regional cultural and policy factors related to physical activity behaviors.
All participating jurisdictions followed a harmonized process to develop a country report card. Ten required common indicators were assessed, including five behavioral indicators (Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport and Physical Activity, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behavior), four sources of influence indicators (Family and Peers, School, Community and Environment, and Government), and an outcome indicator (Physical Fitness). Letter grades, ranging from A+ to F or incomplete (INC), were assigned to the indicators based on the predefined benchmarks and grading rubric, and were converted to numerical scale for analyses.
The country average scores ranged from F (Indonesia) to B− (Japan), with C+/C/C− the most prevalent grades. The mean behavioral score (D+) was lower than sources of influence score (C+). Poor grades (D or F) were observed for Overall Physical Activity among 73.3% (11/15) of the jurisdictions. Government was the indicator with the highest proportion of A or B grades (66.7%), followed by School (53.3%). Physical Fitness (n = 10) and Active Play (n = 8) were two indicators with the largest number of INC grades.
Poor grades for physical activity and sedentary behavior were generally found in Asian jurisdictions. The better, though modest, grades on the sources of influence have not been translated into favorable behaviors among children and adolescents. The findings also suggested surveillance gaps for physical fitness, active play, and organized sport participation. National-level investments and action plans are needed to ensure physical activity interventions are developed, effectively implemented, and regularly evaluated in multiple settings.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute