A considerable proportion of European adults report little or no interest in physical activity. Identifying individual-level and environmental-level characteristics of these individuals can help designing effective interventions and policies to promote physical activity. This cross-sectional study additionally explored associations between level of interest and physical activity, after controlling for other individual and environmental variables. Measures of objective and perceived features of the physical environment of residence, self-reported physical activity and other lifestyle behaviors, barriers towards physical activity, general health, and demographics were obtained from 5205 European adults participating in the 2014 online SPOTLIGHT survey. t-Tests, chi-square tests, and generalized estimating equations with negative binomial log-link function were conducted. Adults not interested in physical activity reported a higher BMI and a lower self-rated health, were less educated, and to a smaller extent female and less frequently employed. They were more prone to have less healthy eating habits, and to perceive more barriers towards physical activity. Only minor differences were observed in environmental attributes: the non-interested were slightly more likely to live in neighborhoods objectively characterized as less aesthetic and containing more destinations, and perceived as less functional, safe, and aesthetic. Even after controlling for other individual and environmental factors, interest in physical activity remained a significant correlate of physical activity, supporting the importance of this association. This study is among the first to describe characteristics of individuals with reduced interest in physical activity, suggesting that (lack of) interest is a robust correlate of physical activity in several personal and environmental conditions.
Keywords: Correlates; Interest level; Motivation; Physical activity; SPOTLIGHT.
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