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Gender-specific changes in physical activity pattern in Iran: national surveillance of risk factors of non-communicable diseases (2007–2011)

  • Original Article
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International Journal of Public Health



This study describes the gender-specific pattern of physical activity (PA) in Iran 2011. The 4-year changes in PA levels (domains) are also determined according to the Iran’s national surveys conducted on 2007 and 2011.


Physical activity assessed based on the global physical activity questionnaire. In all, 4,121 (2007), and 7,436 (2011) adults were analyzed.


Based on 2011 survey, 56.4 %, 39.2 %, and 74.4 % of participants were physically inactive at work, commuting and recreation, respectively. In all domains of PA, males showed a higher degree of activity (min/day) than females (P value <0.001). The overall prevalence of physical inactivity was increased from 15 % (2007) to 21.5 % (2011) (P value <0.001). Over the 4 years, a significant decline in total physical activity (MET × min/week) and the duration of commuting activity were noted in both genders. Work-related activity was dramatically decreased in females. However, the time spent in recreational activity remained relatively constant.


This report indicating that the Iranian population, particularly females, have become less active during the survey period. Physical inactivity should receive more attention as a public health issue.

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This study was supported by the Center for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran.

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Correspondence to Alireza Esteghamati.

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Koohpayehzadeh, J., Etemad, K., Abbasi, M. et al. Gender-specific changes in physical activity pattern in Iran: national surveillance of risk factors of non-communicable diseases (2007–2011). Int J Public Health 59, 231–241 (2014).

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