Physical Activity

Based on the current physical activity guidelines, the proportion of adults meeting the recommended level in 2021 was 69%, an increase from 66% in 2019. This increase represents a significant change at the 95% confidence interval and the arrow is therefore performance improving.

Revised guidelines on physical activity were introduced by the Chief Medical Officers of each of the four UK countries in July 2011.  The previous recommended level of activity for adults was that they should do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week (i.e. at least 5). The new guidelines are that adults should be moderately active for a minimum of 150 minutes a week.

The impact of this change was an increase of around 24 percentage points in the proportion of adults meeting the recommendation. It is not possible to calculate adherence to the new guideline back over the time series, but figures using the old guideline were produced for 2012 and show relatively little change over time (39% in 2011, 38% in 2012).

The proportion of adults meeting the latest physical activity recommendations in 2021 was 69%, significantly higher than in 2019 (66%). This is the first increase in the proportion of adults meeting the physical activity guidelines in recent years.

Between 2008 and 2012, there was little change in the proportion meeting the old physical activity recommendations.

Adults in younger age groups were more likely to be meeting physical activity recommendations compared to older adults. The most active age groups were the 25-34 and the 45-54 age group, with 76% meeting recommended levels of physical activity. The least active group was the 75+ age group, with 44% meeting the recommended activity levels.

Men were more likely to meet the physical activity recommendations than women (73% compared to 65%).

77% of adults in the least deprived areas met physical activity recommendations, compared with 57% of adults in the most deprived areas.

56% of adults with a limiting long-term health condition met physical activity recommendations, compared with 77% of those without.

68% of adults living in urban areas met physical activity recommendations, compared to 72% in rural areas.

Performance Improving

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