International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 221–230 | Cite as

Correlates of objectively measured physical activity in adults and older people: a cross-sectional study of population-based sample of adults and older people living in Norway

  • Bjørge Herman HansenEmail author
  • Yngvar Ommundsen
  • Ingar Holme
  • Elin Kolle
  • Sigmund Alfred Anderssen
Original Article



The aims of the study were to identify correlates of objectively measured physical activity and to determine whether the explanatory power of the correlates differed with sex, weight status or level of education.


Physical activity was assessed objectively in 3,867 participants, aged 20–85 years, for a consecutive 7 days using the ActiGraph GT1M activity monitor. Demographic and biological variables and levels of psychological, social environmental and physical environmental correlates were self-reported.


The complete set of correlates explained 18.6 % (p < 0.001) of the variance in overall physical activity. Age and physical activity identity were the most important factors, explaining 4.8 and 3.2 % of the variance, respectively, whereas social environmental and physical environmental correlates did not significantly increase the amount of explained variance. Small interaction effects between demographic and biological variables and the correlates were observed.


Self-efficacy, perceived behavioural control and physical activity identity might be important targets for intervention. Intervention efforts aimed at influencing psychological correlates of physical activity may prove equally effective regardless of sex, weight status and level of education.


Actigraphy Physical activity Correlates of physical activity Epidemiology Public health 



The authors thank all the test personnel at the ten institutions involved in the study, for their work during the data collection: Finnmark University College, Hedmark University College, NTNU Social Research AS, Sogn og Fjordane University College, University of Agder, University of Nordland, University of Stavanger, Telemark University College, Vestfold University College, and Norwegian School of Sport Sciences.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjørge Herman Hansen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yngvar Ommundsen
    • 2
  • Ingar Holme
    • 1
  • Elin Kolle
    • 1
  • Sigmund Alfred Anderssen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sports MedicineNorwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Coaching and PsychologyNorwegian School of Sport SciencesOsloNorway

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