Self-rated health and physical activity in the European Union
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Objectives:This article is the first 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. On a descriptive and multivariate level, the analysis investigates the relationship between physical activity and self-rated health in the different nations.
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 status (insufficiently active, sufficiently active, and highly active) was assessed using the last 7-days short-version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).
Results:On a descriptive level of analysis, results indicated positive relationships between physical activity status and self-rated health across populations subgroups as divided by age, gender, income, and educational attainment. Also on a multivariate level of analysis, physical activity status was significantly related to a better self-rated health. In an analysis on the national level, some variations in the predictive power of physical activity status for self-rated health could be observed.
Conclusions:Results provide some indication for a positive relationship between physical activity, as assessed with the IPAQ, and self-rated health. That in most nations sufficient levels of physical activity were not positively related to self-rated health might be explained by difficulties in assessing moderate forms of physical activity, and also differences of the context (at home, for leisure, at work, for transportation) where physical activity takes place.
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