Physical activity

This indicator looks at the percentage of adults meeting physical activity recommendations.

Based on the current physical activity guidelines, the proportion of adults meeting the recommended level in 2019 was 66%, the same as in 2018. This increase does not represent a significant change at the 95% confidence interval and the arrow is therefore performance maintaining.

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).

Adults in younger age groups were more likely to be meeting physical activity recommendations compared to older adults. The most active age group was the 25-34 age group, with 77% meeting recommended levels of physical activity. The least active group was the 75+ age group, with 35% meeting the recommended activity levels.

Men were more likely to meet the physical activity recommendations than women (71% compared to 61%).

74% of adults in the least deprived areas met physical activity recommendations, compared with 54% of adults in the most deprived areas.

55% of adults with a limiting long-term health condition met physical activity recommendations, compared with 73% of those without.

64% of adults living in urban areas met physical activity recommendations, compared to 73% in rural areas.

This indicator can be broken down by age, gender, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, Disability and urban rural classification. These breakdowns can be viewed on the Equality Evidence Finder.

Data for this indicator is available for 2020. However, please note that the 2020 results are not directly comparable to results for previous years, which is why the indicator shows "performance to be confirmed". Data for 2020, and further information can be viewed here.

Performance to be confirmed

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