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Physical activity

Compiled by Men’s Health Forum, March 2013

Men are more likely than women to be physically active.

In England in 2008, 39% of men and 29% of women aged 16 and over reported that they met the government’s recommendations for physical activity, compared with 32% and 21% respectively in 1997 (Reference: Information Centre).

Actual physical activity levels may be much lower, however. An accelerometer study found that only 6% of men and 4% of women achieved the government’s recommended level (Reference: Information Centre).

The proportion of people who self-report meeting the recommendations fell more sharply with age in men than women. In England in 2008, 53% of 16-24 year old men met the recommendations but this fell to 49% for 25-34 year olds, 44% for 35-44s, 41% for 45-54s, 32% for 55-64s, and 20% for 65-74s. For women, the respective proportions were 35%, 36%, 34%, 32%, 28% and 17% (Reference: BHF).

Men in the lowest quintile of household income are much less likely than men in the four higher quintiles to meet the recommendations as are men from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese groups (Reference: BHF).

Men and women have been found to have different barriers to doing more activity. Men were most likely to cite work commitments as a barrier to increasing their physical activity (45%), while lack of leisure time was the barrier most cited by women (37%) (Reference: Information Centre).

Page created on August 5th, 2013

Page updated on August 12th, 2013