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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Apr;19(2):188-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00739.x. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Twenty-five year socioeconomic trends in leisure-time and commuting physical activity among employed Finns.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


The trend of socioeconomic differences in physical activity is largely unknown in Finland. In this study, we examined socioeconomic trends in leisure-time and commuting physical activity among Finns in 1978-2002. Nationwide data were derived from an annually repeated cross-sectional Finnish Adult Health Behavior Survey. People under the age of 25, students, the unemployed, and retirees were excluded from the analysis. The final data set included 25 513 women and 25 302 men. Socioeconomic variables included education, occupation, and household income. Odds ratios for being physically active and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. People with the lowest income were less leisure-time and commuting physically active. Among women, low occupational status was associated with high commuting physical activity whereas among men such an association was not found. No educational differences among men in leisure-time and commuting physical activity over time were found. Some indications were found that educational differences in leisure-time physical activity among women might have been reversed. Our data suggest that socioeconomic differences in leisure-time and commuting physical activity are quite small and have remained similar between 1978 and 2002.

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