Knowledge of UK physical activity guidelines: implications for better targeted health promotion

Prev Med. 2014 Aug;65:33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.04.016. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the correlates of knowledge of the UK physical activity (PA) guidelines.

Method: A Northern Ireland-wide population survey (2010/2011) of 4653 adults provided cross-sectional data on PA, knowledge of guidelines and socio-demographic characteristics. Multinomial logistic regression was used to investigate the associations between knowledge and socio-demographic characteristics (Model 1); and modifiable health behaviours (Model 2).

Results: Results showed that 47% of respondents were unaware of PA guidelines. Males who had a lower level of education (OR 5.91; 95% CI 1.67, 20.94), lived in more deprived areas (OR 4.80; 95% CI 1.87, 12.30), low income (OR 2.36; 95% CI 1.63, 3.41) and did no PA (OR 2.74; 95% CI 1.31, 5.76) were more likely to be unaware of the guidelines. Females who were younger (OR 1.03; 95% CI 1.02, 1.05) and reported poor health (OR 2.71; 95% CI 1.61, 4.58) were more likely to be unaware of the guidelines.

Conclusion: There is a lack of awareness about the levels of PA needed to promote health. An understanding of the characteristics of those who are unaware of the guidelines has important implications for the design of targeted, effective health promotion.

Keywords: Correlates; Health promotion; Knowledge; Physical activity; UK Physical Activity Guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Promotion / standards
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom