Multinomial model and zero-inflated gamma model to study time spent on leisure time physical activity: an example of ELSA-Brasil

Rev Saude Publica. 2017 Aug 17:51:76. doi: 10.11606/S1518-8787.2017051006882.


Objective: To compare two methodological approaches: the multinomial model and the zero-inflated gamma model, evaluating the factors associated with the practice and amount of time spent on leisure time physical activity.

Methods: Data collected from 14,823 baseline participants in the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil - Estudo Longitudinal de Saúde do Adulto ) have been analysed. Regular leisure time physical activity has been measured using the leisure time physical activity module of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The explanatory variables considered were gender, age, education level, and annual per capita family income.

Results: The main advantage of the zero-inflated gamma model over the multinomial model is that it estimates mean time (minutes per week) spent on leisure time physical activity. For example, on average, men spent 28 minutes/week longer on leisure time physical activity than women did. The most sedentary groups were young women with low education level and income.

Conclusions: The zero-inflated gamma model, which is rarely used in epidemiological studies, can give more appropriate answers in several situations. In our case, we have obtained important information on the main determinants of the duration of leisure time physical activity. This information can help guide efforts towards the most vulnerable groups since physical inactivity is associated with different diseases and even premature death.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Factors