Time trends in physical activity in the state of São Paulo, Brazil: 2002-2008

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Dec;42(12):2231-6. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e1fe8e.


Purpose: To document time trends in physical activity in the state of São Paulo, Brazil (2002-2008). In addition, we discuss the role of Agita São Paulo at explaining such trends.

Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were carried out in 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2008 in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, using comparable sampling approaches and similar sample sizes. In all surveys, physical activity was measured using the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Separate weekly scores of walking and moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activities were generated; cutoff points of 0 and 150 min·wk were used. Also, we created a total physical activity score by summing these three types of activity. We used logistic regression models for adjusting time trends for the different sociodemographic compositions of the samples.

Results: The prevalence of no physical activity decreased from 9.6% in 2002 to 2.7% in 2008, whereas the proportion of subjects below the 150-min threshold decreased from 43.7% in 2002 to 11.6% in 2008. These trends were mainly explained by increases in walking and moderate-intensity physical activity. Increases in physical activity were slightly greater among females than among males. Logistic regression models confirmed that these trends were not due to the different compositions of the samples.

Conclusions: Physical activity levels are increasing in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Considering that the few data available in Brazil using the same instrument indicate exactly the opposite trend and that Agita São Paulo primarily incentives the involvement in moderate-intensity physical activity and walking, it seems that at least part of the trends described here are explained by the Agita São Paulo program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Public Health
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult