Obesity Indicators 2014

This publication reports the latest available data for 16 indicators selected to monitor progress for the Prevention of Obesity Route Map. Most indicators are updated up to 2013, but for some indicators data is more or less up-to-date than this.

This document is part of a collection

Proportion of adults meeting physical activity guidelines[6]

Indicator Source: Scottish Health Survey


  • In 2013, 64% of adults aged 16 and over met the current moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guideline. The figure in 2013 was 62%.
  • Men were significantly more likely to meet the MVPA guideline than women (71% compared to 58%). The gap was widest among the youngest and oldest age groups: 88% of men aged 16-24 met the guideline, compared with 70% of women of the same age; and 36% of men aged 75 or above met the guideline, compared with 19% of women.
  • Between 2012 and 2013, the proportion of men meeting the guideline increased significantly from 67% to 71%. Adherence to the guideline did not change for women between 2012 and 2013 (58% in both years).
  • Twenty-six percent of those aged 75 and over were active at the recommended level, compared with 79% of those aged 16-34 and 71% of those aged 35-54.

Proportion of adults meeting physical activity guidelines Scotland 1998, 2003, 2008-2013


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 all six equalities groups are possible. Breakdowns for 2008-2011 are available in the Scottish Health Survey 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 differed markedly by age for both sexes. The proportion of men who were active at the recommended level declined fairly steadily from 88% at age 16-24 to 54% for those aged 65-74, and then dropped more sharply, to 36%, at age 75 and over. For women, adherence within the 16-54 age group was more stable with 66% to 73% active at the recommended level. Adherence dropped to 46%-49% at age 55-74 and then to 19% among those aged 75 and over.


Email: Daniel Adams

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