Long Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities: Headline Indicators – October 2015

Annual update of the 'Long-term Monitoring of Health Inequalities' headline indicators.

This document is part of a collection

Adult physical activity[8]

Indicator Source: Scottish Health Survey

Latest Results

  • In 2015, 63% of adults aged 16 and over met the current moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guideline. There has been no significant change to this proportion since 2012.
  • Men were more likely than women to meet the guideline (67% compared to 59%). The gap was widest within the oldest age group: 42% of men aged 75 and above met the guideline, compared with 23% of women of the same age.
  • The proportion of adults meeting the guidelines was highest for those aged 16-24 (75%) and steadily declined with increasing age, with 31% of adults aged 75 and above meeting the requirement.
  • Between 2012 and 2015, the proportion of men meeting the guideline has varied between 67% and 71%. Over the same period adherence to the guideline has changed very little for women (between 58% and 59%).

Figure 8: Proportion of adults (16+) meeting physical activity guidelines, 2008-2015

Figure 8: Proportion of adults (16+) meeting physical activity guidelines,  2008-2015

About This Indicator

Desired Outcome:

Increased energy expenditure.


Accumulation of 150 minutes moderate/ 75 minutes vigorous intensity physical activity (or a combination of both) per week, using 2012 definitions of walking pace, sports and time spent very active at work.

Relevant Route Map action:

All energy expenditure actions.

Geography available:

National, Health Board.

Equalities data:

Breakdowns by most equalities groups are possible. Breakdowns by age, gender and disability (limiting long term illness) are available in SHeS 2015 supplementary tables (http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00505692.xls). Further breakdowns, using SHeS 2008-2011 data, are available in the topic report on equality groups published in October 2012. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/10/8988

Rationale for including this indicator:

The aim of this indicator is to monitor change in the proportion of adults who meet physical activity guidelines. The current recommendation, detailed above, is designed to promote general health outcomes and weight maintenance. The recommended level of activity for weight loss is higher.

Factors influencing this indicator:

  • Age and gender: Although men were more likely than women to meet the current guideline, adherence to this differs markedly by age.
  • Deprivation: Adult activity levels are significantly associated with area deprivation. In 2015, the age standardised prevalence of adherence to the MVPA guideline was highest among adults in the least deprived areas (71%) and steadily declined with increasing deprivation to 50% among adults in the most deprived areas. This pattern was true for both men and women.


Email: Craig Kellock

Back to top