Age-related comparisons by sex in the domains of aerobic physical activity for adults in Scotland

Tessa Strain, Claire Fitzsimons, Charlie E. Foster, Nanette Mutrie, Nick Townsend, Paul Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective. To investigate the age-related differences in the contributions of the domains of physical activity (PA) for men and women in Scotland who met the current PA guidelines or who were insufficiently active. Methods. We analysed data from the 2013 Scottish Health Survey (4885 adults (≥16 years)). Average weekly minutes of moderate or vigorous PA (MVPA) and the relative contributions to total MVPA were calculated for the domains of: walking, cycling, domestic, leisure, occupational, outdoor, non-team sport, team sport, and exercise & fitness. We performed linear regression analyses to assess differences by 10-year age group, stratified by sex and activity status (1–149 or ≥150 min of MVPA per week). These were repeated excluding occupational activity due to concerns with its measurement. Results. For the 64.3% of the sample that met the guidelines, occupational activity was the most prevalent domain accounting for 18–26% of all MVPA for those under 65 years. When excluded, there was no age-related decline in total MVPA (p N 0.05). For the 18.6% of the sample that reported 1–149 min of MVPA per week, domestic activity was the most prevalent domain. Across both sexes and activity statuses, exercise & fitness declined with age and walking was most prevalent in the oldest age group. Conclusion. The domains in which adults in Scotland undertake MVPA vary by age group. Policies designed to increase PA should take this into account. Our findings challenge current thinking on agerelated changes in activity, with the exclusion of occupational activity mitigating any age-related decline in MVPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
JournalPreventive Medicine
Early online date30 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • physical activity
  • exercise
  • adult
  • health surveys
  • humans
  • leisure activities
  • sports
  • walking


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