Recognition of the health effects of insufficiently active lifestyles around the globe has provoked the development and release of public health guidelines to support strategies to increase physical activity. In November 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour,1 updating their earlier guidelines from 2010 and closely matching the physical activity guideline released in 2018 by the US Department of Health and Human Services.2 In October 2020, the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults aged 18–64 years and Adults aged 65 years or older: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep3 were released. Although the WHO and the Canadian guidelines are similar in many respects, there are notable and important differences, which warrant explanation for those who may find the differences confusing. We consider the differences between the 2 recently published guidelines, explain the alternate approaches these guideline groups have taken and discuss how differing guidelines can coexist.
Senior Scientist and Director, Healthy Active Living and Obesity, CHEO Research Institute