Associations between physical activity and self-rated wellbeing in European adults: a population-based, cross-sectional study

Adilson Marques, Miguel Peralta, João Martins, Ricardo Catunda, Margarida Gaspar de Matos, Luís Saboga Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Although self-rated wellbeing is an indicator of health status, it has been receiving little attention; its relationship with physical activity among adults remains inconclusive. The purpose of this study was to analyse the relationship between physical activity and several dimensions of self-rated wellbeing in European adults. This cross-sectional study was based on data from the European Social Survey round 6, 2012, comprising 40,600 European adults (18,418 men, 22,186 women) from 27 countries, with mean age 42.1 ± 13.3. Meeting physical activity guidelines was assessed using World Health Organization criteria. Six dimensions of the self-rated wellbeing were assessed (evaluative wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, functioning, vitality, community wellbeing, supportive wellbeing). Men and women who attained physical activity recommended levels had better evaluative wellbeing (men, p = 0.009; women, p < 0.001), emotional wellbeing (men, p < 0.001; women, p < 0.001), functioning (men, p < 0.001; women, p < 0.001), vitality (men, p < 0.001; women, p < 0.001), supportive relationships (men, p < 0.001; women, p < 0.001), and wellbeing total score (men, p < 0.001; women, p < 0.001). Physical activity frequency was linearly associated with self-rated wellbeing in the 6 dimensions as well as the wellbeing total score (p < 0.001). Attaining recommended physical activity levels is related to better self-rated wellbeing, and more frequent physical activity is linearly associated with better self-rated wellbeing in its 6 dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Active lifestyle
  • Epidemiology
  • Physical activity
  • Self-rated wellbeing


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