Correlates of leisure time physical inactivity in a scandinavian population: A basis for interventions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Effective interventions are needed to increase physical activity in the general population. To target interventions, we need knowledge of insuffciently active groups in society. This study aims to identify demographic and health-related correlates of leisure-time physical inactivity in a general Scandinavian population. Methods: Study participants comprised 5734 control subjects, age 18 to 70 years, from 2 ongoing Swedish case-control studies. Participants self-reported their leisure-time physical activity level. The odds of being physically inactive were calculated using logistic regression. Results: A total of 42% of participants were classifed as physically inactive during leisure time. A lower prevalence of inactivity was associated with middle age, higher education, having previous experience of sports participation, following a low glycemic index/Mediterranean diet and having a light physical workload. A high prevalence of inactivity was associated with greater age, high body mass index, smoking, never drinking alcohol, having children, having a weak social network or lower levels of emotional support, and a low vegetable intake. Conclusions: Several factors were associated with leisure-time physical inactivity. Directing interventions to target groups defned by specifc factors associated with physical inactivity could be an effcient way to increase activity and improve health in the general population.


External organisations
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Epidemiology, Exercise, Physical activity, Public health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1242
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes