Obesity indicators 2018

Latest results against the obesity indicator framework originally developed to monitor progress against our Prevention of Obesity Route Map (2010). The Route Map has now been overtaken by the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan and Active Scotland Delivery Plan published in summer 2018.

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Adult physical activity


Source: Scottish Health Survey

Latest Results

  • In 2017, 65% 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 significantly more likely than women to meet the guideline (71% compared to 60%). The gap was widest within the youngest age group: 89% of men aged 16-24 met the guideline, compared with 67% of women of the same age.
  • Physical activity levels among adults were significantly associated with age, with younger groups more likely than older age groups to meet the MVPA guidelines. Adherence to the guidelines was highest among those aged 16-44 (76-78%) and declined from 68% among those aged 45-54 to 28% among adults aged 75 and over.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, 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 60%).

Figure 8. Proportion of adults (16+) meeting physical activity guidelines, 2008-20179

Figure 8. Proportion of adults (16+) meeting physical activity guidelines, 2008-2017


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.

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 2017 supplementary tables (https://www.gov.scot/Resource/0054/00540741.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 adult physical activity:

These data are useful 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 adult physical activity:

  • 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 2017, the age standardised prevalence of adherence to the MVPA guideline was highest among adults in the least deprived areas (72%) and steadily declined with increasing deprivation to 56% among adults in the most deprived areas. This pattern was true for both men and women.


Email: Xanthippi Gounari

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