Released in Adelaide, Australia on November 27, 2018, the Global Matrix 3.0 is the most comprehensive assessment of global variation in child and youth physical activity.

Released on November 27, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia, the Global Matrix 3.0 is the most comprehensive assessment of global variation in child and youth physical activity.



The Global Matrix 3.0 on Physical Activity
for Children and Youth


Released on November 27, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia at the Movement to Move conference.







Childhood physical inactivity reaches crisis levels around the globe

Report compares 49 countries; says 75% of countries have failing physical activity grades

NOVEMBER 27, 2018 – ADELAIDE, Australia – Children around the world are not moving enough to maintain healthy growth and development, according to a global report released today.

The report by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA) compared 49 countries from six continents to assess global trends in childhood physical activity in developed and developing nations, resulting in the “Global Matrix 3.0” comparison of grades.

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

“Global trends, including excessive screen time, are contributing to a generation of inactive children and putting them on a dangerous path,” said Professor Mark Tremblay, President of the AHKGA and Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute in Canada. “We have a collective responsibility to change this because inactive children are at risk for adverse physical, mental, social and cognitive health problems. This generation will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of climate change, increasing globalization, and the consequences of rapid technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive in a changing world.”

The AHKGA international comparison involved 517 experts who produced 49 country report cards, grading 10 common indicators related to the physical activity of children and youth. The resulting report examines global patterns, and highlights how our changing world is affecting children’s physical activity levels. Increases in screen time and a growing reliance on technology are taking up crucial time that could be better spent engaged in a wide range of physical activities; and an increased use of motorized transport is changing physical activity levels globally.

“Pushing back against these lifestyle shifts requires social engineering, not just built engineering, and the challenges vary depending on each country’s stage of development,” said Dr. Tremblay. “It will take many facets of society working together to shift behaviours to preserve and promote our children’s right to play and be active. We hope this report will be a call to action for societies around the world.”

Learning from each other

Countries with the most active children and youth overall, including Slovenia, Zimbabwe and Japan, each rely on very different approaches to get kids moving but what is consistent among all of them is that physical activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms. Being active is not just a choice, but a way of life.

  • Slovenia obtained the best grades for Overall Physical Activity (A−), Family and Peers (B+), and Government (A), and received an overall average grade of B.
    • A notable feature in Slovenia is the importance of sport for the culture of this almost 30-year old country as “Slovenes tend to view sports as an effective tool in fostering national identity among citizens and making successful global identity claims.”
  • Zimbabwe reports above-average grades in Overall Physical Activity (C+) and Sedentary Behaviours (B).
    • Overall physical activity is mostly affected by active transportation which, for the majority of the children in Zimbabwe, is a necessity in everyday life.
  • Japan had the best grades for Active Transportation (A−) and Physical Fitness (A), and had no grades lower than C−.
    • Japan has a highly established “walking to school practice” that has been implemented since the School Education Act enforcement order, enacted in 1953. It states that public elementary schools should be located within no more than 4 km, and for public junior high schools no more than 6 km from the student’s home.

“There much we can learn from each other to improve the grades around the world,” said Professor Peter Katzmarzyk, AHKGA Vice-President and Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Physical inactivity is a global concern and can no longer be ignored. For the good of our children’s health and futures, we need to build physical activity into all societies, and change social norms to get kids moving.”

About the Global Matrix

The global comparisons were led by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance (AHKGA;, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to powering the movement to get kids moving. Each country’s research process to determine grades was based on the framework from the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Ten common indicators were compared: Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport and Physical Activity, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behavior, Physical Fitness, Family and Peers, School, Community and Environment, and Government. Report Cards from each of the 49 countries, as well as the results of the global comparisons, were presented at the opening plenary of the Movement to Move Conference in Adelaide, Australia and published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health on November 27, 2018. Complete details of the Global Matrix 3.0, each country’s grades, report cards, priorities for action, quotes from country leaders and more are available at The “Global Matrix 1.0” (2014, 15 countries) and “Global Matrix 2.0” (2016, 38 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 3.0 confirms there are challenges for children, communities and cultures around the world. Identified priorities for action include:

  • Creating a global movement for comprehensive school physical activity programs that support and allow ALL children and youth to meet the physical activity guidelines through a variety of strategic interventions (e.g., active recess options, physical activity breaks, compulsory physical education).
  • Creating a global culture of active kids / active people in all settings, prioritizing active transportation above other modes of transportation.
  • Investing in comprehensive social interventions and research to improve implementation and uptake strategies to manage recreational screen time among children and youth.
  • Developing a standardized global surveillance system of the physical activity and related indicators among children and youth to fill the current gaps, especially in low- and medium-income countries.

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

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Mark Tremblay
President, AHKGA

Aynsley Morris
Director of Communications, CHEO Research Institute
+1-613-737-7600 x4144


Please see the Global Matrix 3.0 tab for a complete table of grades from all countries.

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


CountryContinentHDIOverall Physical ActivityOrganized Sport and Physical ActivityActive PlayActive TransportationSedentary Behavior
WalesEuropeVery High20D+17C+19C-20D+24F
VenezuelaSouth AmericaHigh21D21D26INC16B-26INC
UruguaySouth AmericaHigh21D24F26INC18C19C-
United StatesNorth AmericaVery High22D-18C26INC22D-21D
United Arab EmiratesAsiaVery High24F26INC26INC26INC19C-
SwedenEuropeVery High20D+14B+26INC18C17C+
SpainEuropeVery High21D15B19C-16B-14B+
South KoreaAsiaVery High24F18C26INC14B+21D
South AfricaAfricaMedium18C21D26INC18C26INC
SloveniaEuropeVery High13A-17C+21D18C14B+
ScotlandEuropeVery High24F15B26INC18C24F
QatarAsiaVery High21D20D+26INC27N/A20D+
PortugalEuropeVery High21D16B-26INC19C-19C-
PolandEuropeVery High22D-21D26INC18C21D
New ZealandOceaniaVery High22D-15B17C+19C-21D
NetherlandsEuropeVery High18C15B15B16B-19C-
MexicoNorth AmericaHigh20D+18C26INC17C+22D-
LithuaniaEuropeVery High19C-18C26INC19C-19C-
JerseyEuropeVery High22D-26INC26INC20D+18C
JapanAsiaVery High26INC16B-26INC13A-19C-
Hong KongAsiaVery High19C-18C26INC14B+19C-
GuernseyEuropeVery High21D17C+26INC21D18C
GermanyEuropeVery High22D-15B22D-19C-22D-
FranceEuropeVery High21D19C-26INC19C-22D-
FinlandEuropeVery High21D17C+18C14B+22D-
EstoniaEuropeVery High22D-18C24F21D24F
EnglandEuropeVery High19C-20D+26INC19C-20D+
EcuadorSouth AmericaHigh21D26INC26INC19C-18C
DenmarkEuropeVery High22D-13A-26INC14B+20D+
Czech RepublicEuropeVery High21D16B-22D-17C+22D-
ColombiaSouth AmericaHigh20D+18C26INC15B20D+
Chinese TaipeiAsiaVery High24F22D-26INC19C-19C-
ChileSouth AmericaVery High22D-22D-26INC24F19C-
CanadaNorth AmericaVery High20D+14B+21D22D-20D+
BrazilSouth AmericaHigh21D17C+20D+18C22D-
Belgium (Flanders)EuropeVery High24F15B26INC17C+18C
AustraliaOceaniaVery High22D-16B-26INC20D+22D-
CountryContinentHDIOverall Physical ActivityOrganized Sport and Physical ActivityActive PlayActive TransportationSedentary Behavior


CountryContinentHDIPhysical FitnessFamily and PeersSchoolCommunity and EnvironmentGovernmentAverage
WalesEuropeVery High26INC21D26INC26INC17C+20D+
VenezuelaSouth AmericaHigh26INC26INC26INC22D-24F21D
UruguaySouth AmericaHigh19C-26INC19C-26INC21D21D
United StatesNorth AmericaVery High19C-26INC22D-18C26INC21D
United Arab EmiratesAsiaVery High26INC26INC22D-26INC14B+20D+
SwedenEuropeVery High26INC26INC17C+12A15B17C+
SpainEuropeVery High26INC26INC17C+26INC26INC17C+
South KoreaAsiaVery High20D+26INC20D+26INC21D20D+
South AfricaAfricaMedium26INC19C-22D-19C-18C20D+
SloveniaEuropeVery High13A-14B+12A15B12A15B
ScotlandEuropeVery High26INC26INC26INC16B-18C20D+
QatarAsiaVery High26INC26INC18C26INC14B+19C-
PortugalEuropeVery High18C18C12A15B15B17C+
PolandEuropeVery High19C-19C-15B18C17C+19C-
New ZealandOceaniaVery High26INC19C-16B-15B14B+18C
NetherlandsEuropeVery High26INC26INC18C26INC26INC17C+
MexicoNorth AmericaHigh26INC26INC20D+20D+18C20D+
LithuaniaEuropeVery High17C+21D17C+18C18C19C-
JerseyEuropeVery High21D18C16B-18C21D20D+
JapanAsiaVery High12A19C-14B+16B-15B16B-
Hong KongAsiaVery High21D22D-18C15B18C19C-
GuernseyEuropeVery High26INC26INC26INC26INC21D20D+
GermanyEuropeVery High26INC16B-14B+14B+26INC18C
FranceEuropeVery High16B-26INC15B26INC18C19C-
FinlandEuropeVery High18C16B-12A14B+13A-17C+
EstoniaEuropeVery High26INC21D17C+15B15B20D+
EnglandEuropeVery High19C-26INC14B+18C26INC19C-
EcuadorSouth AmericaHigh26INC24F26INC20D+26INC21D
DenmarkEuropeVery High26INC26INC13A-14B+13A-16B-
Czech RepublicEuropeVery High17C+17C+14B+15B17C+18C
ColombiaSouth AmericaHigh22D-26INC21D16B-15B19C-
Chinese TaipeiAsiaVery High16B-26INC14B+14B+14B+18C
ChileSouth AmericaVery High21D24F21D15B16B-21D
CanadaNorth AmericaVery High21D17C+16B-14B+17C+19C-
BrazilSouth AmericaHigh21D19C-18C19C-20D+20D+
Belgium (Flanders)EuropeVery High26INC17C+16B-15B15B18C
AustraliaOceaniaVery High20D+17C+14B+13A-21D19C-
CountryContinentHDIPhysical FitnessFamily and PeersSchoolCommunity and EnvironmentGovernmentAverage

Click on a flag to view a country page.



Belgium (Flanders)







Chinese Taipei


Czech Republic











Hong Kong









New Zealand







South Africa

South Korea




United Arab Emirates

United States





Use and link to to share the report. Please use the following hashtag with all your communications: #globalmatrix

Infographics are also available and free to use:

  • “facts” infographic – pdf or png
  • “global findings” infographic – pdf or png
  • World maps by indicator – zip

Slide deck downloads:

Country report card abstracts:

Global Matrix 3.0: International Results from 49 Countries

This is a reproduction of Dr. Mark Tremblay’s presentation in Adelaide, Australia on November 27, 2018 when the Global Matrix 3.0 was released.

Global Matrix 3.0: Report Card Grades on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth from 10 Countries with High Human Development Index

This is a reproduction of Silvia González’s presentation in Adelaide, Australia on November 27, 2018 when the Global Matrix 3.0 was released. The title of Silvia’s presentation is, “Report Card Grades on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth from 10 Countries with High Human Development Index,” which summarizes a paper published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

Global Matrix 3.0: Indicators of Physical Activity among Children and Youth in Nine Countries with Low-to-Medium Human Development Indices

The video below is a reproduction of Taru Manyanga’s presentation in Adelaide, Australia on November 27, 2018 when the Global Matrix 3.0 was released. The title of Taru’s presentation is, “Indicators of Physical Activity among Children and Youth in Nine Countries with Low-to-Medium Human Development Indices,” which summarizes a paper published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.