European adults' physical activity socio-demographic correlates: A cross-sectional study from the European Social Survey

Adilson Marques, João Martins, Miguel Peralta, Ricardo Catunda, Luís Saboga Nunes

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Background. From a public health perspective, the study of socio-demographic factors related to physical activity is important in order to identify subgroups for intervention programs. Objective. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of, and the socio-demographic correlates related to, the achievement of recommended physical activity levels. Methods. Using data from the European Social Survey round 6, physical activity and socio-demographic characteristics were collected, in 2012, from 39,278 European adults (18,272 men, 21,006 women), aged 18-65 years, from 28 countries. The question of meeting physical activity guidelines was assessed using World Health Organization criteria. Results. A total of 64.50% (63.36% men, 66.49% women) attained physical activity recommended levels. The likelihood of attaining physical activity recommendations was higher in the 55-64 years age group (men: OR = 1.22, p < 0.05; women: OR = 1.66, p < 0.001), among those who had secondary education (men: OR = 1.28, p < 0.01; women: OR = 1.26, p < 0.05), among those who lived in rural areas (men: OR = 1.20, p < 0.001; women: OR = 1.10, p < 0.05), and among those who had three or more people living at home (men: OR = 1.40, p < 0.001; women: OR = 1.43, p < 0.001). On the other hand, attaining physical activity recommendations was negatively associated with being unemployed (men: OR = 0.70, p < 0.001; women: OR = 0.87, p < 0.05), being a student (OR = 0.56, p < 0.001; women: OR = 0.64, p < 0.01), being a retired person (men: OR = 0.86, p < 0.05) and with having a higher household income (OR = 0.80, p < 0.001; women: OR = 0.81, p < 0.01). Conclusions. This research helped clarify that, as the promotion of physical activity is critical to sustain health and prevent disease, socio-demographic factors are important to consider when planning the increase of physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2066
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Health promotion
  • Leisure time physical activity
  • Lifestyles
  • Physical inactivity


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