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: 3.09). 01/2008; 45(6):416-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.12.014
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Emmanuel Stamatakis, Apr 17, 2014
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    • "There is a lack of information about the association between the PA patterns of parents and their children at the start of primary school. Although previous studies have highlighted that both child and adult PA patterns differ by gender, it is not clear whether there are gender differences in the association between parent and child PA [13,14]. Both children’s and adults’ PA patterns have been shown to differ between weekdays and weekend days [13,15] but whether any association between parental and child PA differs across the week is unknown. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background A number of studies have suggested that there is a need to increase the physical activity levels of children. Parents are important influences on children’s behaviour. There is a lack of information about whether there are associations between the physical activity levels of young children and their parents. The current study examined the associations between the physical activity (PA) of parents and their children at age five to six years old, and determined whether any associations differed by child or parent gender or between week and weekend days. Methods Cross-sectional study, with 1267 Year 1 pupils (five to six years of age) and at least one parent from 57 primary schools. Children and parents wore an accelerometer for five days and mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day were derived. We used multivariable linear regression to investigate whether parental and child time spent in MVPA was associated with each other. Each model was adjusted for age, child gender, parent BMI and neighbourhood deprivation with subgroup analysis by child gender. Results 80% of parents met PA guidelines, however 29% of boys and 47% of girls aged five to six years failed to meet them. Fully-adjusted analyses suggested weak positive associations of parent’s and children’s time spent in MVPA. Every 10 additional minutes of parental MVPA were associated with one additional minute of child MVPA. There was no evidence of a difference in associations for boys and girls or between mothers and fathers. Conclusions 29% of boys and 47% of girls aged five to six years did not meet PA guidelines indicating that these children would benefit from new approaches that focus on increasing physical activity. There were weak associations between the MVPA of 5–6 year old children and their parents, demonstrating that the time that children are active with their parents is not a major source of physical activity. Clinicians and public health professionals should encourage parents to create opportunities for their children to be active.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Different versions of the Health Survey for England physical activity questionnaire have been used since 1991: version 1 in 1991–1993; version 2 in 1997–1998 and 2006; and version 3 in 1999, 2003, and 2004 (44). The 1998, 2003, and 2008–2010 Scottish Health Surveys used a questionnaire identical to version 2 (45–47). "
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    ABSTRACT: The criterion validity of the 2008 Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Assessment Questionnaire (PASBAQ) was examined in a nationally representative sample of 2,175 persons aged ≥16 years in England using accelerometry. Using accelerometer minutes/day greater than or equal to 200 counts as a criterion, Spearman's correlation coefficient (ρ) for PASBAQ-assessed total activity was 0.30 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.25, 0.35) in women and 0.20 (95% CI: 0.15, 0.26) in men. Correlations between accelerometer counts/minute of wear time and questionnaire-assessed relative energy expenditure (metabolic equivalent-minutes/day) were higher in women (ρ = 0.41, 95% CI: 0.36, 0.46) than in men (ρ = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.26, 0.38). Similar correlations were observed for minutes/day spent in vigorous activity (women: ρ = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.33, 0.46; men: ρ = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.26, 0.36) and moderate-to-vigorous activity (women: ρ = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.36, 0.48; men: ρ = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.45). Correlations for time spent being sedentary (<100 counts/minute) were 0.30 (95% CI: 0.24, 0.35) and 0.25 (95% CI: 0.19, 0.30) in women and men, respectively. Sedentary behavior correlations showed no sex difference. The validity of sedentary behavior and total physical activity was higher in older age groups, but validity was higher in younger persons for vigorous-intensity activity. The PASBAQ is a useful and valid instrument for ranking individuals according to levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · American Journal of Epidemiology
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    • "It is reasonable to assume that the measure of yoga in HSE was conservative and likely to capture those who practice an active style of yoga on a regular basis. Compared to other forms of PA in the same HSE cohorts, yoga practice in England was a lot less common than activities such as cycling, running, team sports, and fitness/gym, but more common than martial arts and outdoor water sports [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Yoga is a holistic practice that may offer several health benefits. No study has examined the prevalence, temporal trends, or correlates of yoga practice at the population level in a European country and very few such studies exist worldwide. The objective of the study is to examine the prevalence, trends and correlates of yoga practice in England between 1997 and 2008. Analysis was conducted in early 2013 using Health Survey for England data. Independent cohorts, representative of adults living in England, were surveyed in annual cycles in 1997-1999, 2003-2004, and 2006/2008. Prevalence of yoga practice (defined as any practice in the past four weeks) was determined at each time point and multiple logistic regression was used to examine temporal trends (using 1997-1999 as reference time point) and the correlates of yoga practice. The prevalence of yoga practice was 0.46% (95%CI: 0.39%-0.52%) in 1997-1999, 0.94% (0.83%-1.06%) in 2003-2004, and 1.11% (0.95%-1.28%) in 2006/2008. Yoga participants in England were more likely to be older, female, degree educated, of non-manual social class, lower BMI, better self-rated general health, inactive occupation, and higher moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Adjusted for age, sex, social class, and long standing illnesses, there was a significant increasing trend of yoga practice from 1997 to 2008 (2003/04 OR = 1.93, 95%CI: 1.59-2.34; 2006/08 OR = 2.19, 95%CI: 1.77-2.71). Yoga practice has increased in popularity, though the absolute rates are still relatively low. Future population studies should more comprehensively examine the contexts, settings, styles, correlates and health benefits of yoga practice.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Research Notes
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