Physical activity during work, transport and leisure in Germany--prevalence and socio-demographic correlates

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e112333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112333. eCollection 2014.


Background: This study aimed 1) to provide data estimates concerning overall moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) as well as MVPA during work, transport and leisure in Germany and 2) to investigate MVPA and possible associations with socio-demographic correlates.

Methods: A cross-sectional telephone survey interviewed 2248 representative participants in the age of 18-65 years (1077 men; 42.4 ± 13.4 years; body mass index: 25.3 ± 4.5 kg • m(-2)) regarding their self-reported physical activity across Germany. The Global Physical Activity Questionnaire was applied to investigate MVPA during work, transport and leisure and questions were answered concerning their demographics. MVPA was stratified by gender, age, body mass index, residential setting, educational and income level. To identify socio-demographic correlates of overall MVPA as well as in the domains, we used a series of linear regressions.

Results: 52.8% of the sample achieved physical activity recommendations (53.7% men/52.1% women). Overall MVPA was highest in the age group 18-29 years (p < .05), in participants with 10 years of education (p < .05) and in participants with lowest income levels < 1.500 € (p < .05). Regression analyses revealed that age, education and income were negatively associated with overall and work MVPA. Residential setting and education was positively correlated with transport MVPA, whereas income level was negatively associated with transport MVPA. Education was the only correlate for leisure MVPA with a positive association.

Conclusions: The present data underlines the importance of a comprehensive view on physical activity engagement according to the different physical activity domains and discloses a need for future physical activity interventions that consider socio-demographic variables, residential setting as well as the physical activity domain in Germany.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transportation

Grant support

The ERGO insurance group AG ( funded the data collection. Data analysis and the preparation of the manuscript was possible through funding of the German Sport University within the research project Modulation of Metabolic Fluxes by Physical Activity Patterns and by the program “Equal Opportunities for Women in Research and Teaching” Bavarian State Government. This publication was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the University of Wuerzburg in the funding programme Open Access Publishing. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.