The Scottish Health Survey 2021: summary report

Key findings from the Scottish Health Survey 2021 report.

This document is part of a collection

Chapter 6 Physical Activity

In 2021, significantly more adults met the guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA)1, than previous years, continuing a general upwards trend since 2012.

In 2021, a higher proportion of men met the MVPA guidelines than women.

73% men

65% women

Adults aged between 16 and 54 were more likely than older adults to have met the MVPA guidelines in 2021.

In 2021, the proportion of adults who met the MVPA guidelines was lowest among those living in the most deprived areas.

In 2021, just over a third of adults adhered to both the MVPA and muscle strengthening guidelines2. As age increased the proportion of adults adhering to both guidelines decreased.

In 2021, the majority of children aged 5-15 met the recommended guideline of at least 60 minutes of activity on average per day in the previous week. Boys were more likely than girls to meet the physical activity guidelines.

Across all age groups a higher proportion of boys adhered to the physical activity guidelines, with the highest proportion of children meeting the physical activity guidelines among those aged 5-7.


1 At least 150 minutes of moderately intensive physical activity or 75 minutes vigorous activity per week or an equivalent combination of both.

2 Carries out activities that strengthen muscles on at least two days per week.



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