Population prevalence and correlates of stages of change in physical activity

Health Educ Q. 1993 Fall;20(3):431-40. doi: 10.1177/109019819302000312.


Stages of change for exercise, sociodemographic variables, and beliefs about the health benefits of exercise were obtained for a representative sample of Australian adults (N = 4404). Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between exercise stage of change and sociodemographic variables and beliefs about the benefits of exercise. Thirteen percent of respondents stated that they did not exercise and did not intend to start; 10% stated that they did not exercise but were thinking of starting; 16% stated that they exercise occasionally and were not thinking of doing more; 23% stated that they exercised occasionally and were thinking of doing more; and 38% stated that they exercised regularly and intended to continue. Intention to do more exercise generally decreased with increasing age, but increased with level of education. An increased frequency of exercise and an intention to do more exercise was associated with the belief that exercise would help to prevent heart disease and with a higher level of education. The results provide a useful profile of the exercise habits (and intention to change those habits) of population subgroups. Public communication campaigns on the benefits of physical activity should focus particularly on those who do not intend to exercise, older adults, and the less well educated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / psychology
  • Australia
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Regression Analysis