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BMC Public Health. 2013 Feb 22;13:163. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-163.

Educational differences in self-rated physical fitness among Finns.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, PO Box 30, FIN-00271, Helsinki, Finland. kaisa.pulkkinen@thl.fi.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The high educated live longer and healthier lives when compared to the low educated. Physical fitness as a health indicator reflects the level of physical activity along with other health-influencing factors such as obesity, smoking, chronic diseases and individual training effects. Studies support that self-rated physical fitness correlates with objectively measured physical fitness well. However, the educational differences in self-rated physical fitness are not known.

METHODS:

Our aim was to study educational differences in self-rated physical fitness in Finnish population. The data were collected in 2007 for a cross-sectional population based National FINRISK Study. The analyzed data included 2722 men and 3108 women aged 25 to 74 years. Statistical method was ordinal logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Longer educational career was associated with better self-rated physical fitness. The educational differences in self-rated physical fitness were largely explained by health behavior. Leisure-time physical activity explained fully and body mass index partly the educational differences in self-rated physical fitness among men. The combination of body mass index, history of chronic diseases and smoking explained the differences fully among men and partly among women. Leisure-time, occupational and commuting physical activities, body mass index, history of chronic diseases and smoking together explained all educational differences in self-rated physical fitness among both genders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although educational differences in self-rated physical fitness were found, they were explained by health behavior related factors. Leisure-time physical activity offered the strongest single explanation for the educational differences in self-rated physical fitness. Thus, possibilities for leisure-time physical activity should be increased especially among the low educated.

PMID:
23433081
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3639841
Free PMC Article
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