Age-related differences in physical activity profiles of English adults

Prev Med. Mar-Apr 2011;52(3-4):247-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.02.008. Epub 2011 Feb 19.


Objective: Describe the proportion of total moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time that is represented by specific types of physical activity among active adults.

Methods: We analyzed data from 4750 adult participants in the 2008 Health Survey for England who reported ≥30 min of MVPA on ≥5 days per week. The proportion of their MVPA time spent in: occupational, domestic, walking, exercise and fitness, team sports, non-team sports, outdoor pursuit, and leisure pursuit activities were calculated and averaged across 6 age categories.

Results: Exercise and fitness activities make up a greater proportion of total MVPA for young adults (16-24 years: men=27%; women=21%) than old adults (65+ years: 12%; 11%); the same is true for Team sports (16-24 years: 12%, 2%; 65+ years: 0%, 0%). Domestic activities make up a greater proportion of total MVPA time among older men and women (16-24 years: 9%, 16%; 65+ years: 34%, 38%). Walking is one of the most important contributors to total MVPA across all age groups for both sexes (range all ages: 26-42%, 37-45%).

Conclusion: The physical activity profile of physically active English adults varies with age. Age-specific interventions to increase physical activity among adults may be needed.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Household Work
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Occupations
  • Sex Factors
  • Transportation
  • Young Adult