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Prev Med. 2007 Aug-Sep;45(2-3):182-8. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Relation of employment status to socioeconomic position and physical activity types.

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  • 1Research Unit in Health, Behaviour and Change, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK.



To investigate further associations between socioeconomic position and overall physical activity levels and specific types of physical activity. To investigate the role of employment status and health in these associations.


Cross-sectional analysis of self-reported physical activity of 2346 men and 2941 women aged 25 to 64 interviewed for the 2003 Scottish Health Survey. Poisson regression was used to generate prevalence ratios in multivariate analysis.


Accumulated socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with doing little or no overall physical activity (19 and 16% of most advantaged men and women vs. 44 and 40% for most disadvantaged, age adjusted prevalence ratio: 2.02, 95% CI 1.60,2.56 and 2.21, 95% CI 1.81,2.71 for men and women). The association was attenuated by accounting for employment status and health (prevalence ratio 1.15, 95% CI 0.90,1.47 and 1.50, 95% CI 1.22,1.84 for men and women). Despite occupational activity being associated with lower socioeconomic position, the most disadvantaged did not have the highest rates because they were most likely to be out of employment.


Comparing only those achieving the recommended level of physical activity to all others may obscure clear socioeconomic differences in physical activity. Policies to increase physical activity participation for the most disadvantaged are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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