GLOBAL MATRIX 4.0

GLOBAL MATRIX 4.0

Released on October 24, 2022, the Global Matrix 4.0 is the most comprehensive assessment
of global variation in child and adolescent physical activity.

The Global Matrix 4.0 on Physical Activity
for Children and Adolescents



Released on October 24, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, UAE in conjunction with the ISPAH Congress 2022

57

Countries

6

Continents

570

Grades

Pandemic worsens global childhood physical inactivity crisis

Report compares 57 countries across six continents and gives physical activity a “D” grade

OCTOBER 24, 2022 – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Children and adolescents around the world are not moving enough to promote healthy growth and development, and the COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse, according to a global report released today.

The report by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) compared 57 countries from six continents to assess global levels and trends in child and adolescent physical activity, resulting in the  “Global Matrix 4.0” comparison of grades.

The report revealed that modern lifestyles – increases in digital screen time, the growing urbanization of communities, and the rise in automation of previously manual tasks – are contributing to a pervasive yet unequally distributed public health problem that must be recognized as a global priority.

“The Global Matrix 4.0 represents the largest compilation of information to date on indicators related to the physical activity of children and adolescents, and the data show a failing grade,” said Professor Mark Tremblay, President of the AHKGA and Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute in Canada. “New habits have been formed by children and adolescents around the world in response to the new normal provoked by a socially accepted screen-centric indoor living society and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts, and severe weather associated with climate change”.

The AHKGA international comparison involved 682 experts who produced 57 country report cards, grading 10 common indicators related to the physical activity of children and adolescents. The resulting “Global Matrix” of grades allowed for an examination of global patterns and highlights how our changing world is affecting physical activity levels. High levels of sedentary behaviours, especially digital screen use, were propelled at least in part by pandemic-related restrictions and adaptations to education delivery and the resultant adverse impact on routine physical activity cannot be ignored. “Without significant efforts to recalibrate the modern and pandemic-influenced lifestyle of our children and adolescents, we risk mortgaging their future health and well-being,” said Dr. Tremblay. “We hope this report will be a call to action for societies around the world.”

Learning from each other

While overall grades around the world are poor, some countries are doing well in certain areas and can provide guidance on how to “improve the grade”. Leading countries for Report Card indicators include: Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, and Japan.

“A great benefit of this global initiative is that countries can learn from one another – what works and what doesn’t to facilitate healthy physical activity behaviours of children and adolescents,” said Dr. Salomé Aubert, Global Matrix 4.0 Research Fellow with the AHKGA. “We observed great variation in grades for all indicators, confirming some countries are succeeding and some are failing. Our global network exists to share best, and worst, practices in an effort to power the global movement to get kids moving”.

About the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrix 4.0 Project

The global comparisons were led by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA; www.activehealthykids.org), a registered not-for-profit organization made up of researchers, health professionals, and stakeholders who work together to advance physical activity in children and adolescents around the world. AHKGA’s vision is a world of active healthy kids, with a mission to power the global movement to get kids moving through thought leadership, knowledge translation and mobilization, capacity building, and advocacy. The dominant effort of the AHKGA to date has been its Global Matrix initiative. Each participating country’s research process to determine grades was based on a harmonized framework and standardized grading rubric. Ten common indicators were compared: Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport and Physical Activity, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behaviour, Physical Fitness, Family and Peers, School, Community and Environment, and Government. Report cards from each of the 57 countries, as well as the results of the global comparisons, were presented at the 9th International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, on October 24, 2022. Complete details of the Global Matrix 4.0, each country’s leaders, grades, report cards, and more are available at www.activehealthykids.org. The “Global Matrix 1.0” (2014, 15 countries), “Global Matrix 2.0” (2016, 38 countries), and “Global Matrix 3.0” (2018, 49 countries) findings are also available on the AHKGA website.

The AHKGA is committed to informing, guiding and facilitating solutions to the global childhood inactivity crisis. This Global Matrix 4.0 confirms there are challenges for children, communities and cultures around the world. These challenges are inequitable by gender, ability, age, ethnicity, Human Development Index, and geocultural region and were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Identified priorities for action include:

  • Increasing opportunities for being physically active at school (active recesses, extracurricular programs, active breaks), increasing the amount of physical education per week, and making physical education a compulsory subject for all school levels.
  • Providing free access to public spaces, green space, playgrounds, sport facilities, and active transportation infrastructures, while addressing the issue of safety of the environment as a priority.
  • Developing physical activity policies that provide more equitable, accessible, inclusive, flexible, and attractive sport program opportunities by specifically targeting girls, children and adolescents with a disability, from low-income families, and/or facing segregation or marginalization, as well as adolescents to reduce the age-related physical activity decline.
  • Physical activity policies and strategies require better implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. This includes providing regular evaluations of progress towards meeting the World Health Organization’s targets to reduce physical inactivity by 15% by 2030. Greater transparency and clearer accountability related to the implementation of policies is needed.

Manuscripts published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health:

  • Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrix 4.0 – a resource for physical activity researchers (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0257)
  • Global Matrix 4.0 Physical Activity Report Card Grades for Children and Adolescents: Results and Analyses from 57 Countries (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0456)
  • Recent secular trends in child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behavior internationally: analyses of data from Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrices 1.0-4.0 (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0312)
  • Association between physical activity indicators and Human Development Index at the national level: Information from the Global Matrix 4.0 Physical Activity Report Cards for Children and Adolescents (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0321)
  • Economic freedom, climate culpability, and physical activity indicators among children and adolescents: Report Card grades from the Global Matrix 4.0 (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0342)
  • Promoting Physical Activity among Children and Adolescents with Disabilities: The Translation of Policy to Practice Internationally (https://doi.org/10.1123/JPAH.2022-0351)

Further information on solutions to “improve the grade” is available at:

www.activehealthykids.org
www.participaction.com/en-ca
www.ispah.org/resources/key-resources/8-investments
www.who.int/news-room/initiatives/gappa/action-plan
www.scforh.info

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Dr. Mark Tremblay, President, AHKGA
mtremblay@cheo.on.ca

Dr. Salomé Aubert, AHKGA Global Matrix 4.0 Research Fellow
salome.aubert@hotmail.fr

Dr. Iryna Demchenko, Project Coordinator, AHKGA
info@activehealthykids.org

Dr. Javier Sayavera, Chair, AHKGA Communications Committee
jbsayavera@upo.es

Attachments

  1. Country results ordered by grade (INC = inadequate evidence to grade)
  2. Infographic on Global Matrix 4.0 main findings
  3. Infographic on most successful countries


Search the grades by country or continent. View the grading rubric to learn more about how grades are assigned.

 

Country Continent HDI Overall Physical Activity Organized Sport and Physical Activity Active Play Active Transportation Sedentary Behavior
Zimbabwe Africa Low 17C+* 16B- 17C+ 15B 18C
Wales Europe Very High 24F 18C 17C+ 19C- 24F
Viet Nam Asia High 24F 26INC 26INC 20D+ 19C-
Uruguay South America High 24F 24F 26INC 18C 20D+
United States North America Very High 16B- 18C 26INC 22D- 21D
United Arab Emirates Asia Very High 24F* 26INC 26INC 24F 22D-
The Philippines Asia 24F 26INC 26INC 21D 15B
Thailand Asia High 21D 20D+ 24F 17C+ 24F
Sweden Europe Very High 20D+** 14B+ 26INC 18C 21D
Spain Europe Very High 16B- 14B+ 16B- 16B- 21D
South Korea Asia Very High 22D- 26INC 26INC 14B+ 21D
South Africa Africa Medium 16B- 22D- 26INC 16B- 19C-
Slovenia Europe Very High 13A- 18C 18C 18C 17C+
Slovakia Europe Very High 16B- 19C- 19C- 18C 19C-
Singapore Asia Very High 19C-* 16B- 19C- 18C 19C-
Serbia Europe High 20D+ 19C- 15B 15B 19C-
Scotland Europe Very High 26INC 16B- 26INC 19C- 24F
Region of Murcia Europe 21D 15B 14B+ 15B 20D+
Portugal Europe Very High 22D- 19C- 20D+ 22D- 17C+
Poland Europe Very High 26INC 17C+ 26INC 19C- 21D
New Zealand Oceania Very High 17C+ 16B- 26INC 21D 19C-
Nepal Asia Medium 20D+ 19C- 17C+ 18C 18C
Montenegro Europe High 19C- 18C 15B 20D+ 15B
Mexico North America High 21D 18C 17C+ 17C+ 22D-
Malaysia Asia 22D- 26INC 26INC 22D- 18C
Lithuania Europe Very High 20D+ 16B- 16B- 21D 20D+
Lebanon Asia High 22D- 26INC 26INC 20D+ 18C
Jersey Europe Very High 24F 26INC 26INC 21D 21D
Japan Asia Very High 16B- 16B- 26INC 13A- 19C-
Israel Asia Very High 22D- 21D 26INC 19C- 17C+
Ireland Europe 19C-* 18C 26INC 21D 19C-
Indonesia Asia 24F 24F 24F 22D- 15B
India Asia Medium 18C* 26INC 26INC 16B- 22D-
Hungary Europe Very High 24F 19C- 18C 16B- 21D
Hong Kong Asia Very High 22D-** 16B- 21D 14B+ 21D
Guernsey Europe Very High 17C+* 17C+ 26INC 19C- 18C
Greenland North America 22D- 21D 26INC 26INC 26INC
Germany Europe Very High 22D- 16B- 19C- 18C 18C
France Europe Very High 22D- 18C 18C 20D+ 22D-
Finland Europe Very High 13A-** 17C+ 19C- 14B+ 26INC
Extremadura Europe 24F 20D+ 26INC 26INC 21D
Ethiopia Africa Low 24F 19C- 15B 16B- 17C+
Estonia Europe Very High 17C+ 16B- 21D 20D+ 22D-
England Europe Very High 19C- 21D 26INC 17C+ 20D+
Denmark Europe Very High 21D* 12A 16B- 13A- 20D+
Czech Republic Europe Very High 17C+* 16B- 18C 16B- 21D
Croatia Europe Very High 16B- 19C- 18C 19C- 20D+
Colombia South America High 20D+ 20D+ 26INC 15B 20D+
Chinese Taipei Asia Very High 24F 22D- 24F 19C- 20D+
China Asia High 18C 24F 19C- 18C 20D+
Chile South America Very High 20D+ 19C- 26INC 21D 22D-
Canada North America Very High 21D 17C+ 22D- 19C- 24F
Brazil South America High 21D 19C- 24F 18C 21D
Botswana Africa Medium 20D+ 20D+ 19C- 18C 19C-
Basque Country Europe 26INC 16B- 26INC 17C+ 16B-
Australia Oceania Very High 22D- 16B- 26INC 20D+ 22D-
Argentina South America 20D+ 19C- 26INC 26INC 20D+
Country Continent HDI Overall Physical Activity Organized Sport and Physical Activity Active Play Active Transportation Sedentary Behavior

Country Continent HDI Physical Fitness Family and Peers School Community and Environment Government Average
Zimbabwe Africa Low 26INC 26INC 18C 19C- 21D 19C-
Wales Europe Very High 19C- 20D+ 16B- 18C 18C* 19C-
Viet Nam Asia High 26INC 18C 12A 18C 16B- 20D+
Uruguay South America High 26INC 26INC 14B+ 19C- 18C* 21D
United States North America Very High 19C- 26INC 22D- 18C 26INC 21D
United Arab Emirates Asia Very High 26INC 22D- 13A- 26INC 14B+ 22D-
The Philippines Asia 26INC 26INC 19C- 26INC 15B* 22D-
Thailand Asia High 22D- 13A- 16B- 19C- 15B 19C-
Sweden Europe Very High 17C+ 14B+ 15B 11A+ 15B 17C+
Spain Europe Very High 19C- 16B- 19C- 15B 18C 17C+
South Korea Asia Very High 26INC 19C- 12A 16B- 12A* 19C-
South Africa Africa Medium 16B- 19C- 22D- 21D 18C 19C-
Slovenia Europe Very High 12A 14B+ 12A 11A+ 21D 15B
Slovakia Europe Very High 20D+ 19C- 15B 16B- 16B- 17C+
Singapore Asia Very High 26INC 19C- 26INC 11A+ 15B 18C
Serbia Europe High 26INC 19C- 14B+ 17C+ 20D+ 18C
Scotland Europe Very High 26INC 22D- 26INC 16B- 18C* 21D
Region of Murcia Europe 22D- 18C 17C+ 20D+ 21D 18C
Portugal Europe Very High 18C 15B 12A 15B 15B 17C+
Poland Europe Very High 18C 19C- 14B+ 18C 18C 19C-
New Zealand Oceania Very High 26INC 21D 17C+ 26INC 12A 20D+
Nepal Asia Medium 26INC 11A+ 18C 18C 24F 18C
Montenegro Europe High 17C+ 12A 13A- 18C 18C 16B-
Mexico North America High 26INC 16B- 20D+ 21D 18C 19C-
Malaysia Asia 15B 26INC 13A- 26INC 15B* 20D+
Lithuania Europe Very High 18C 18C 17C+ 15B 17C+ 17C+
Lebanon Asia High 26INC 26INC 21D 26INC 21D 23F+
Jersey Europe Very High 26INC 15B 14B+ 26INC 18C 21D
Japan Asia Very High 15B 19C- 14B+ 15B 15B 16B-
Israel Asia Very High 26INC 22D- 17C+ 19C- 18C 20D+
Ireland Europe 26INC 20D+ 19C- 14B+ 15B* 19C-
Indonesia Asia 24F 24F 24F 20D+ 16B- 21D
India Asia Medium 26INC 26INC 18C 21D 17C+ 21D
Hungary Europe Very High 26INC 20D+ 11A+ 26INC 15B 19C-
Hong Kong Asia Very High 21D 26INC 15B 15B 17C+ 18C
Guernsey Europe Very High 26INC 21D 16B- 26INC 17C+ 20D+
Greenland North America 26INC 26INC 26INC 20D+ 15B 23F+
Germany Europe Very High 20D+ 18C 16B- 16B- 26INC 18C
France Europe Very High 18C 15B 15B 15B 15B 17C+
Finland Europe Very High 19C- 16B- 15B 15B 13A- 16B-
Extremadura Europe 17C+ 12A 17C+ 15B 19C- 19C-
Ethiopia Africa Low 26INC 24F 13A- 19C- 18C 19C-
Estonia Europe Very High 17C+ 19C- 17C+ 14B+ 15B 17C+
England Europe Very High 26INC 26INC 14B+ 18C 26INC 21D
Denmark Europe Very High 16B- 17C+ 14B+ 14B+ 14B+ 15B
Czech Republic Europe Very High 26INC 16B- 14B+ 15B 20D+ 17C+
Croatia Europe Very High 26INC 20D+ 16B- 16B- 20D+ 19C-
Colombia South America High 26INC 26INC 20D+ 16B- 17C+ 20D+
Chinese Taipei Asia Very High 26INC 22D- 13A- 13A- 14B+ 19C-
China Asia High 26INC 19C- 21D 22D- 21D 20D+
Chile South America Very High 26INC 21D 18C 20D+ 13A-* 20D+
Canada North America Very High 26INC 18C 16B- 15B 16B- 19C-
Brazil South America High 20D+ 19C- 15B 18C 20D+* 19C-
Botswana Africa Medium 17C+ 19C- 19C- 22D- 22D- 19C-
Basque Country Europe 26INC 26INC 26INC 26INC 26INC 23F+
Australia Oceania Very High 20D+ 17C+ 17C+ 13A- 19C- 19C-
Argentina South America 26INC 26INC 26INC 19C- 20D+* 22D-
Country Continent HDI Physical Fitness Family and Peers School Community and Environment Government Average

Click on a flag to view a country page.

Argentina

Australia

Basque Country

Botswana

Brazil

Canada

Chile

China

Chinese Taipei

Colombia

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

England

Estonia

Ethiopia

Extremadura

Finland

France

Germany

Greenland

Guernsey

Hong Kong

Hungary

India

Indonesia

Ireland

Israel

Japan

Jersey

Lebanon

Lithuania

Malaysia

Mexico

Montenegro

Nepal

New Zealand

Poland

Portugal

Region of Murcia

Scotland

Serbia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

South Korea

Spain

Sweden

Thailand

The Philippines

United Arab Emirates

United States

Uruguay

Viet Nam

Wales

Zimbabwe

Please follow the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and help us communicate the key findings and messages from the Global Matrix 4.0!

On Twitter, use @activehealthyk1 and link to www.activehealthykids.org to share Global Matrix 4.0 findings. Please use the following hashtag with all your communications: #globalmatrix

The following materials are available and free to use:

  • Twitter Images – zip
  • Infographic on Global Matrix 4.0 main findings – png or jpg
  • Infographic on the most successful countries – png or jpg
  • Global Matrix 4.0 country grades and rankings – png or jpg