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Some work hard while others play hard : the achievement of current recommendations for physical activity levels at work, home, and in leisure in the West of Scotland

Mutrie, N. and Hannah, M.K. (2004) Some work hard while others play hard : the achievement of current recommendations for physical activity levels at work, home, and in leisure in the West of Scotland. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 42. pp. 109-117. ISSN 1463-5240

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Abstract

The identification of current patterns of physical activity in any population is important in planning public health initiatives. The aim in this paper is to show the various physical activities that contribute to the achievement of current recommendations for physical activity for adults in the West of Scotland and to determine whether these patterns of activity vary with gender, age cohort and social class. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey of a randomly selected population stratified for age. The participants were 2153 people involved in the West of Scotland Twenty-07 study. Around one third of the population achieved at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Most of this activity occurred in leisure time although work and home activity made a contribution. Lower levels of activity were reported by women and older adults. More men in the manual classes achieved 30 minutes of activity on most days in comparison with men in non-manual classes and this was achieved through work activity rather than leisure activity. Walking was the most frequently reported leisure activity. Not all physical activity was achieved in leisure time and future studies need to use a measurement tool that allows respondents to report physical activity at home, at work and at leisure. These data suggest that targets for physical activity promotion should include women and older adults and there should be an emphasis on walking, since it is a mode of activity accessible to all ages.