Sozial- und Präventivmedizin

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 301–309 | Cite as

Mental health and physical activity in the European Union

Original article / Originalartikel


Objectives:This article is the 3rd in a series of four that present data about physical activity in 15 member states of the European Union collected by the Eurobarometer 58.2. On a descriptive level it investigates the relationships between physical activity (MET-h/week) and mental health.

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 were about 1000 respondents in most nations. Mental health was assessed with the Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5) and the Energy and Vitality Scale (EVI-scale). Physical activity was assessed with the last 7-days short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Results:Across sociodemographic subgroups of the populations investigated (age, gender, marital status, gross household income, educational status) it was found, that those being more physically active had in general a better mental health. In some of the 15 nations evidence for a dose-response relationship between physical activity and mental health was found, while in others this was not the case.

Conclusions:Results seem to indicate a positive relationship between physical activity level and mental health for population subgroups. However, analysis found no evidence that this relationship can be characterized as being dose-response in all nations.

Physical activity Mental health European Union MHI-5 EVI-scale IPAQ 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser-Verlag Basel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karim Abu-Omar
    • 1
  • Alfred Rütten
    • 1
  • Ville Lehtinen
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Sport SciencesFriedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  2. 2.StakesTurku

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