Article

Temporal trends in physical activity in England: the Health Survey for England 1991 to 2004.

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 1-19 Torrington Place, WC1E 6BT, London, UK.
Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.93). 01/2008; 45(6):416-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.12.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Physical activity is an established risk factor for chronic disease but very little is known about its temporal trends in England. Such information is crucial for planning public health interventions.
We explored temporal trends in occupational activity, walking, domestic activity, and sports using Health Survey for England data in 95,342 adults aged 16 and over. Data were collected annually in 1991-4, 1997-9, and 2003-04. Multivariate logistic regression and multiple linear regression models assessed trends in physical activity for dichotomous and continuous outcomes, respectively. Analyses were adjusted for age and social class.
Physical activity levels at work declined over time but there was a consistent and significant upward trend in regular sports participation among all age groups. Changes in questions in 1997 and 1999 confounded trends in walking and heavy domestic activity and total physical activity. Between 1999 and 2004 (when physical activity questions remained unchanged), there were significant increases in average time spent in all activity types and the percentage of adults meeting the current physical activity recommendations. These short-term increases were more marked among adults aged 35 to 64.
The common perception that overall physical activity levels are declining may be over-simplistic as despite the decreases in occupational physical activity, there is a clear upward trend in sports participation. Changes in the measuring methodology over time preclude the presentation of a clear picture of the total temporal trends in physical activity in England.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine temporal trends in participation in sport and exercise activities (SPEX) in England between 1997 and 2006 while taking into account wider societal changes. Design: A series of annual cross-sectional surveys. Setting & participants: Nationally-representative samples of men (N=27,217) and women (N=33,721) aged ≥16 yrs. Main outcome measurements: Any (≥once/four weeks) and regular (≥once/week) participation in overall SPEX, and a number of SPEX groupings (e.g. cycling, swimming, gym and fitness club-based activities (G/FC), racket sports) . Time point (1997/98, 2003/04, 2006) was the main dependent variable. Results: Age-standardised overall regular participation changed from 40.8% in 1997/98 to 41.2% in 2006 in men (multivariable-adjusted participation odds in 2006:OR 1.11, 95%CIs: 1.03-1.19, p<0.001) and from 31.2% to 33.9% in women (1.21, 1.13-1.29, p<0.001). Regular G/FC increased from 17.0% to 19.2% in men (1.19, 1.09-1.30) and from 15.9% to 18.7% in women (1.23, 1.14-1.33), regular running increased from 2.4% to 4.0% in women only (1.84, 1.56-2.18). Overall increases were apparent only in older adults (≥45 years) (1.25, 1.16-1.35, p<0.001). Young men (16-29 yrs) had reduced odds for cycling (0.72, 0.58-0.88, p=0.008), dancing (0.60, 0.45-0.82, p=0.001), running (0.78, 0.64-0.94, p<0.001) and racket sports (0.60, 0.42-0.86, p=0.003). In men increases were pronounced only among men from nonmanual social classes, higher income households and white ethnic backgrounds. Conclusions: SPEX participation in England has changed between 1997 and 2006 as the result of increases among middle-aged and older adults and decreases among young males. There are no signs that the participation gap between less and more advantaged population groups is narrowing.
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This study utilised three population-based datasets collected by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, formerly National Institute for Public Health): the Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population Study from 1978 to 2002 (N=96 105), the National FINRISK Study 2002 and its physical activity sub-study (N= 9 179), and the Health 2000 Study (N=8 028). Survey information was collected by self-administered questionnaires, interviews at home, and measurements made at the study site. The response rates varied from 69 to 89 per cent. Several socioeconomic measures were linked from the national population registers. Based on the results, those with low income were physically inactive during leisure-time and while commuting from 1978 to 2002. Manual worker women, however, were more physically active commuters compared to their counterparts. Parental socioeconomic position contributed directly to adulthood educational differences in leisure-time physical inactivity but also indirectly through adulthood socioeconomic position (occupation, household income) and other unhealthy behaviours (mainly smoking). Among those with low education participation in competitive sports in youth and among those with high education exercise in late adolescence contributed to leisure-time physical activity in adulthood. Long exposure to physically strenuous working conditions in men and current job strain in women contributed to occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity. Socioeconomic differences in physical activity have remained similar for twenty years in Finland. Educational career seems to have a strong contribution to physical activity. To adopt a lifelong physically active life-style, one should participate in a range of different sports and exercise in adolescence and in youth, have a low exposure to physically and mentally strenuous working conditions in later life and have other healthy behaviours in later life. Liikunta-aktiivisuuden sosioekonomisten erojen trendeistä ja eroja selittävistä tekijöistä tiedetään hyvin vähän. Vain harva tutkimus on tarkastellut sitä, vaihtelevatko selittävät tekijät sosioekonomisen aseman ja elämänvaiheen mukaan. Tämä tutkimus tarkastelee a) miten vapaa-ajan liikunnan ja työmatkaliikunnan sosioekonomiset erot ovat kehittyneet suomalaisilla aikuisilla vuosina 1978 2002 ja b) ovatko vapaa-ajan liikunnan sosioekonomiset erot aikuisilla selitettävissä lapsuuden sosioekonomisilla tekijöillä, nuoruuden liikunta-aktiivisuudella, aikuisuuden sosioekonomisilla tekijöillä, työoloilla ja muulla terveyskäyttäytymisellä. 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