Chapter 7 Physical Activity
Men were more likely than women to meet the moderate or vigorous physical activity guidelines (MVPA)* in 2019.
- All adults 66%
- Men 71%
- Women 61%
In 2019, the proportion of adults meeting the MVPA guidelines declined with age.
Men were more likely than women to have met:
MVPA as well as muscle strengthening guidelines**
- 31% Men
- 27% Woman
MVPA guidelines only
- 40% Men
- 34% Woman
In 2019, the proportion of children (aged 2–15) who met the recommended physical activity level*** over the last seven days, was the lowest in the time series.
- 71% in 2008
- 76% in 2016
- 69% in 2019
This decrease appears to be driven by a drop in activity levels among boys with no significant decrease recorded for girls.
Proportion of children (2–15) meeting the physical activity guidelines
- 66% of all children participated in any sport in the week prior to the interview in 2019
Participation in sports varied by age.
* at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the two per week.
** muscle strengthening activity on two or more days a week.
*** an average of at least 60 minutes of activity per day in previous week. Although the recommendation applies to children aged five and over, the figures relate to those aged 2-15 for consistency with figures reported in previous years. Data is not presented for 2017 and 2018 due to differences in the way the data was collected for these years.
In 2019, adults' sedentary leisure time was significantly higher at weekends than on weekdays.
- 5.4 hours per day on weekdays
- 6.2 hours per day at weekends
On average, children spent more time on sedentary leisure activities at weekends than they did on weekdays.
- 3.6 hours per day on weekdays
- 4.9 hours per day at weekends
On both weekdays and weekends, the amount of time spent on sedentary activities varied for boys by physical activity levels but not for girls.
Mean hours sedentary leisure time
In 2019, adults who met the MVPA physical activity guidelines had a higher mental wellbeing (measured by WEMWBS) mean score than those who did not.
- 50.9 for those who met the MVPA physical activity guidelines
- 47.6 for those who did not meet the MVPA physical activity guidelines
Mean WEMWBS scores generally increased with age among adults meeting the MVPA guidelines.
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