The data for this indicator are gathered through the physical activity module of the Scottish Health Survey, a major population survey based on interviews with adults and children.
The adult physical activity module included in the survey from 1998 onwards is based on the Allied Dunbar National Fitness Survey, a major study of physical activity among the adult population in England conducted in 1990. The module examines:
- The time spent being active
- The intensity of the activities undertaken, and
- The frequency with which activities are performed.
Types of activity covered
Four main types of physical activity are asked about:
- Home-based activities (housework, gardening, building work and DIY)
- Sports and exercise, and
- Activity at work.
For the first three categories, participants are asked to report any activities lasting at least 10 minutes and to say on how many days in the past four weeks they had taken part in such activities. For walking, they are also asked on how many days they had taken more than one walk of at least 10 minutes. Where they had taken more than one walk, the total time spent walking for that day was calculated as twice the average reported walk time.
Those in full or part-time employment are also asked about activity at work. They are asked to rate how physically active they are in their job (options are: very physically active, fairly physically active, not very physically active and not at all physically active). Occupational activity is counted as 20 days in the last 4 weeks for full-time workers and 12 days for part-time workers.
Each of the activities mentioned is classified according to its intensity level. The four categories of 'intensity' of physical activity are:
- Light, and
The recommendation is that adults complete at least 30 minutes of at least moderate levels of physical activity on 5 or more days a week.
Home-based activities were classified as either 'moderate' or 'light' depending on their nature. Participants were given examples of types of housework, gardening, building work and DIY which were described as either 'heavy' or 'light'. All cases of 'heavy' home-based activity were classified as being of 'moderate' physical intensity. Light gardening, building work and DIY were all classified as 'light' physical intensity. Due to its very low intensity, light housework was not included in the calculations of physical activity.
For walking, participants were asked to assess their usual walking pace as 'slow', 'steady average', 'fairly brisk' or 'fast - at least 4mph'. Walks of 10 minutes or more at a brisk or fast pace were classified as being of 'moderate' intensity. Walks at slow or steady average pace were classified as 'light'.
The intensity levels of different sports and exercises were determined according to a combination of the nature of the activity and the participant's assessment of the amount of effort it involved. For example, all instances of playing squash or running/jogging were counted as 'vigorous' intensity. However, other activities, like swimming or cycling, were counted as 'vigorous' only if the participant reported that the effort involved was enough to make them 'out of breath or sweaty'; if not, they were classified as 'moderate' intensity. Similarly, other activities, like dancing, counted as 'moderate' if they made the participant out of breath or sweaty, but 'light' if not.
Activities at work were classified using a combination of (a) the participant's assessment of how active they are in their job (described above), and (b) the Standard Occupational Classification ( SOC) code assigned to their job type. For example, if participants' jobs were among a short list of particularly strenuous occupations (including, for example, miners and construction workers) and they described themselves as 'very physically active' at work, then their jobs were classified as involving 'vigorous' activity. Those who described their jobs as 'very physically active' but whose jobs were not among the list of strenuous occupations were classified as 'moderately active' at work, as were those who considered themselves 'fairly physically active' but whose occupations were classed as either strenuous (see above) or involving heavy or moderate work (for example, plasterers or refuse collectors).
BASELINE AND PAST TRENDS:
Prior to 2008 activities were only recorded if they lasted at least 15 minutes; from 2008 onwards activities of 10-14 minutes duration were also included. The impact of this change on the trend in the proportion of men and women meeting the physical activity recommendations was small overall. However, from 2008 onwards, all trends for adult physical activity include activities accumulated in bouts of 10 minutes or more, and the 2008 data are now the baseline for time series analysis. As such, 2008 is used as the baseline for this indicator.
The proportion of adults completing 30 minutes of at least moderate exercise 5 days a week
| || |
(at least 30 minutes exercise completed in at least 15 min bouts)
(at least 30 minutes exercise completed in at least 10 min bouts)
| || |
| || |
| 2011 || || |
CRITERIA FOR RECENT CHANGE ARROW:
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 2 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
FUTURE ISSUES OR REVIEWS:
Some minor changes are being made to the 2012 survey to take account of the new physical activity recommendations introduced in July 2011. There may, therefore, be some revisions to this indicator when the new data becomes available in 2013.