Socio-demographic correlates of physical activity among European older people

Miguel Peralta, João Martins, Dartagnan Pinto Guedes, Hugo Sarmento, Adilson Marques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


From a public health perspective, identifying factors related to attaining the physical activity (PA) recommendations is important in order to identify subgroups for intervention programs. The aim of this study is to identify the socio-demographic correlates of attaining the recommended levels of PA in the older European population. Using data from the European Social Survey round 6, PA and socio-demographic characteristics were collected from 10,148 participants (4556 men, 5592 women), aged 65 years and over, from 28 countries in 2012. PA was accessed using the question “On how many of the last seven days did you walk quickly, do sports, or other PA for 30 min or longer?” and meeting PA guidelines was assessed using World Health Organization criteria. Overall, 59.7% of the participants attained the PA-recommended levels. The likelihood of attaining PA recommendations was higher among older people with higher education levels (p < 0.05; p < 0.01; p < 0.001). Men who lived in a town or small city (p < 0.05) and lived in a rural area (p < 0.001) were more likely to attain the PA recommendations. Women who lived with a partner were more likely to attain the PA recommendations (p < 0.001). Promotion of PA is critical to health among older people; therefore, intervention programs must consider these socio-demographic factors when planning an increase in PA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Health promotion
  • Leisure-time physical activity
  • Older adults
  • Physical inactivity


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