Section: International comparison of health determinants

Sozial- und Präventivmedizin/Social and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 281-289

First online:

Prevalence of physical activity in the European Union

  • Alfred RüttenAffiliated withInstitut für Sportwissenschaft und Sport, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Email author 
  • , Karim Abu-OmarAffiliated withInstitut für Sportwissenschaft und Sport, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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Objectives:This article is the second in a series of four that present data about physical activity in the 15 member states of the European Union collected by the Eurobarometer 58.2. The focus of this article is on days of vigorous and moderate physical activity, days of walking, and metabolic equivalence estimates (METs) for total physical activity from 15 member states of the European Union using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Methods:Data were collected in 2002 as part of the Eurobarometer by face-to-face interviews. A total of 16230 respondents age 15 years and older were interviewed. Sample sizes ranged about 1000 respondents in most nations. Physical activity was assessed with the last 7-days short version of the IPAQ.

Results:: Median METs estimates in hours per week were the highest in the Netherlands (39.43 MET-hours/week), Germany (34.65 MET-hours/week in the eastern part, 33.90 MET-hours/week in the western part), and Luxembourg (31.55 MET-hours/week). The lowest METs estimates were reported in Northern Ireland (11.55 MET-hours/week), Sweden (18.65 MET-hours/week) and France (19.55 MET-hours/week).

Conclusions:A comparison of the results with existing data on physical activity prevalence in the member states indicate some inconsistencies between studies which may be related to measurement problems, as well as to conceptual differences in the assessment of physical activity.

Physical activity International Physical Activity Questionnaire European Union Prevalence of physical activity Metabolic equivalents