Tous les articles par Bernard Paquito

Climate change & physical activity behaviours : A challenge for health psychology

In November, I gave a talk for the European Health Psychology Society SIG Equity, Global Health and Sustainability. Slides are available here.

In conclusion, I presented an updated definition of health behaviors : “actions and patterns of actions within a context that enable human choices that result in reduced or net zero carbon, energy, water, and ecological footprint and (in)directly result in equitable improvement, restoration, and maintenance of health for humans and nonhuman health for current and future generations” (1).

I also presented a set of priorities for health psychology community:

  • To systematically present climate change consequences in courses
  • A responsibility of ‘senior researchers’ to reshape their research questions in CC perspectives
  • To develop collaborations with environmental/climate  psychology) researchers
  • To accelerate implementation of effective interventions to cope with CC/health issues
  • To prioritize social change >>> technology based solutions
    To develop multilevel interventions with multi- or interdisciplinary perspectives
  • To reorganize our research practices (carbon footprint of congress)

Finally, I shared the link to download our info-graphics (open access).

Chevance G, Fresán U, Hekler E, Edmondson D, Lloyd S j, Ballester J, et al. Thinking health-related behaviors in a climate change context: A narrative review [Internet]. OSF Preprints; 2021 [cited 2021 May 19]. Available from:

Complex associations between air pollution, insomnia symptoms and physical activity

In a preprint co-authored with G. Chevance et al. (1), we examined the associations between climate change consequences and health behaviors. We identified a set of (bi)directional associations between natural hazards, rising sea level, greenhouse gas emission, temperature increase and the following behaviors : alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, water consumption, preventive behaviors, sleep, food related behaviors and physical activity (PA) domains. We synthesized these associations with this figure.

This system map offers a “meta” and simplified perspective of previous studied associations. However, we did not include the potential associations between health behaviors. Indeed, these associations are not well identified and may be different in function of the time scale (i.e., daily associations vs long term association), study participant characteristics and assessment tools (see e.g., see the following reviews for PA sleep associations at short and long term (2,3)).
A recent cross-sectional study investigated the associations of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution with insomnia symptoms in a large Chinese sample. Furthermore, the authors examined whether PA domains had a potential “buffering effect”.
In the perspective of our review, it’s particularly relevant because we could improve the subsection about sleep, PA domains, and air pollution (4). Also, China is one of the most polluted countries in the world.

Strengths of this study:

  • -residents >3 years in their current residence
  • relative good measure of insomnia symptoms
  • good control of indoor air pollution and environmental factors (e.g., temperature)

I synthesized Xu et al. findings with the following slides (4). A buffering effect of physical activity was found for leisure PA and moderate PA “doses”. High levels of total and occupational PA accentuated the air pollution – insomnia association. In brief, the potential positive role of PA varied in term of domain, dose and air pollution measures.



This study is a good illustration of health behaviors associations complexity. In a climate change perspective (i.e., higher level of air pollution in cities around the world in next decades), physical activity promotion and insomnia prevention/treatment strategies should be revised.

  • 1. Chevance G, Fresán U, Hekler E, Edmondson D, Lloyd S j, Ballester J, et al. Thinking health-related behaviors in a climate change context: A narrative review [Internet]. OSF Preprints; 2021 [cited 2021 May 19]. Available from:
  • 2. Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. J Behav Med. 2015 Jun;38(3):427–49.
  • 3. Atoui S, Chevance G, Romain A-J, Kingsbury C, Lachance J-P, Bernard P. Daily associations between sleep and physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2021 Jun;57:101426.
  • 4. Xu J, Zhou J, Luo P, Mao D, Xu W, Nima Q, et al. Associations of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and physical activity with insomnia in Chinese adults. Science of The Total Environment. 2021 Oct;792:148197.


For the climate, please stop to support the FC Bayern Munich ! 

What is the related travel annual carbon footprint of German Football Bundesliga fans ?

Two German researchers collected the following self-reported data about age, sex, level of education, income, environmental values, club membership, favorite team and travel behavior in relation home and away matches (for 2018/19 season) via an online questionnaire (1). They included 539 fans and >50% of respondents were a member of their favorite club.

  • The average seasonal carbon footprint / fan was 311 kg CO2 eq (almost 3% of annual carbon footprint for a German)
  • Highest carbon footprints were found for FC Bayern Munich & RB Leipzig (i.e., 673.8 and 387kg CO2 eq )
  • Private car was the most used frequent mode of transport

The following factors were associated with higher carbon footprint: club membership, fan of Bayern or Leipzig. It’s important to note that income and environmental values were not significantly associated.

This study is a first approach of carbon footprint sport fans. The relative low carbon footprint associated with travels is relatively specific (i.e., geographical scale but also train and public transport availability). It should be very different, if same data were collected in NHL or NBA fans.

1. Loewen C, Wicker P. Travelling to Bundesliga matches: the carbon footprint of football fans. Journal of Sport & Tourism. 2021 May 27;0(0):1–20.  

Impacts of wildfires on physical activity

I write this blog article during an important forest fire in British Columbia (Canada), occurring during an extreme heat wave in the same geographical area. The last Lancet report on health and climate change called it : the ‘converging crises’ (1). Climate projections indicate wildfires will increase in frequency and intensity in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Russia… What are the effects of wildfires on physical activity patterns ?

Cruz et al examined the effects of bushfires on accelerometer measured physical activity among exposed and control children (245 vs 344, 8-10 years, Australia) (2). Additionally, they modelized the association between Air Quality Index (AQI) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in exposed children (with sub analyses for sex and socioeconomic status). Authors collected PA data for their multi-center interventional study, and the bushfires occurred between the end of intervention and first follow-up measures. Children were classified as affected by bushfires if they were exposed to AQI >100 for 3 consecutive days, and their school received targeted advice to avoid outdoor Pas. Their statistical analyses were well-adapted and sophisticated.

Children’s physical activity was not strongly influenced by the presence of smoke during bushfires. Findings were similar for MVPA, VPA, MPA during or outside school hours or after the inclusion of temperature as covariable. During the school time, an AQI of 1 standard deviation increase was associated with a decrease of 2 and 0.6 daily minutes for MPA and VPA, respectively. The curvilinear models suggested that AQI >737 (AQI > 200 = ‘hazardous’) was associated with a drastic MVPA reduction among exposed children. This ‘tipping point’ was not different for children with living in family with low or high socioeconomic background.

Authors suggested that the relative stable PA level during the wildfire episode may be explained by a possible PA indoor practices or family/teachers might not follow the Australian Education Department recommendation about outdoor PA restrictions. Consequently, the children might have been exposed to high level of air pollution.

A US study examined the association between four AQI classes (ranged from moderate to hazardous air quality) and daily number of steps (measured with fitbit) among adults living in California during 2017-2018 wildfire seasons (N > 1000) (3). A significant 18% reduction in daily step count was found when the AQI exceeded 200 compared with AQIs < 100. Similar results were observed after multivariable adjustment, but sex was missing among the covariables.

Finally, another PA characteristic has been examined: active travel in urban context. Doubleday et al. (4) used the bicycle and pedestrian counters data in Seattle (Washington state) to examine the effects of wildfire smoke events. They compared daily bicycle and pedestrian counts across 3 periods, 20 days before wildfires, during wildfire (>3 consecutive days with PM2.5 >15), and 20 days after.

A significant decrease of active travel frequency was observed during the second and larger of two wildfire smoke events (2018, see figure). Findings also showed a slow return to pre-wildfire smoke event physical activity levels in some areas.

This significant PA decrease could be observed only for 2018 because wildfire smoke events were more intense, but also by an improvement of risk reduction messages dissemination by local authorities.



  • 1. Watts N, Amann M, Arnell N, Ayeb-Karlsson S, Beagley J, Belesova K, et al. The 2020 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: responding to converging crises. The Lancet. 2021 Jan;397(10269):129–70.
  • 2. del Pozo Cruz B, Hartwig TB, Sanders T, Noetel M, Parker P, Antczak D, et al. The effects of the Australian bushfires on physical activity in children. Environment International. 2021 Jan 1;146:106214.
  • 3. Rosenthal DG, Vittinghoff E, Tison GH, Pletcher MJ, Olgin JE, Grandis DJ, et al. Assessment of Accelerometer-Based Physical Activity During the 2017-2018 California Wildfire Seasons. JAMA Network Open. 2020 Sep 30;3(9):e2018116.
  • 4. Doubleday A, Choe Y, Busch Isaksen TM, Errett NA. Urban bike and pedestrian activity impacts from wildfire smoke events in Seattle, WA. Journal of Transport & Health. 2021 Jun;21:101033.

Canadian universities : where is the climate change ?

I share my text published in University Affairs.

When I tell my colleagues that I’m trying to examine the links between physical activity, sports and climate change, the most common response is still: What’s the connection? My research focuses more generally on questions of health psychology. But after reading a number of books, opinion pieces, and especially the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I’ve had something of a rude awakening. For example, over 15,000 researchers have sounded the alarm to remind us that humanity is in danger if we continue to exceed the Earth’s biophysical limits.

The efforts that will be needed to limit temperature increases to less than 2°C by 2050 are enormous. Canadians have one of the largest annual carbon footprints in the world (about 17.5 tons of carbon), which we will need to reduce to about two tons per person within 30 years.

While our university colleagues in climatology, geology and other fields have been doing a remarkable job of communicating these issues, we must be realistic: the necessary changes are not happening. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase in Canada. Other university researchers are making progress on climate issues in their respective disciplines, but remain isolated from one another. The next decade will be decisive for future generations. We need to find ways to leverage our combined efforts to make rapid progress, to an even greater extent than our response to COVID-19. To help achieve this, the entire university community should engage with this issue by systematically incorporating questions of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity into introductory courses. The students we teach will be on the front lines when it comes to managing the challenges associated with climate change. Philosophy, law, economics, health sciences, political science, engineering, the arts… All disciplines are affected by climate concerns.

Paradoxically, climate issues do not seem to be a central topic in the courses taught at Canada’s postsecondary institutions. An analysis of course syllabi suggests that less than half of the institutions surveyed were addressing climate change in 2014-15. In other countries, however, a number of initiatives have already been developed, from integrating climate issues into existing courses to the development of interdisciplinary degree programs or educational activities. We can start this process right now by integrating climate issues within general courses, developing a mandatory “climate change education” module as a requirement for earning a university degree, developing new interdisciplinary degree programs in environmental sciences that systematically incorporate ethical and social justice issues, or develop introductory workshops for students on basic climate and energy issues. There are a number of peer-to-peer initiatives in which students can serve as educators to their younger peers, such as the Climate Collage and the Carbon Literacy Project, as well as the online course entitled Changements climatiques et santé (Climate Change and Health) developed by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

Our teaching is connected to our research activities. As such, academics should be financially supported and encouraged by their governing bodies to develop research projects on climate issues within their field of expertise, or to take part in multi- and transdisciplinary projects. Unsurprisingly, the lack of funding for university research on climate change remains the biggest obstacle for researchers. Therefore, Canadian universities and granting agencies should make it an urgent priority to reorient their policies to favour research projects that focus directly or indirectly on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and on the varying degrees to which Canada’s different communities are prepared to face the consequences of climate change.

Of course, investing time and energy on this issue is likely to slow down other projects, but the sacrifice is well worth it. Climate change will cause profound and sudden changes in our ways of living, consuming and producing. In Canada, coastal erosion is already forcing residents of the North Shore area to relocate. In addition, the country we live in is ranked 58th out of 61 on the climate change performance index. Not to mention that the countries at greatest risk of climate catastrophes are generally those with the least resources to deal with them.

Finally, it should be noted that young people clearly have an interest in climate change (ex. There were 400,000 participants at a Montreal demonstration in 2019), which could translate to significant investment in climate issues in their university studies, regardless of their chosen field.