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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Mar;44(3):466-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318230e441.

Prevalence of the Portuguese population attaining sufficient physical activity.

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Exercise and Health Laboratory, Faculty of Human Movement, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.



Physical activity has many health benefits, and to implement strategies, mainly in those groups with insufficient levels of practice, it is important to evaluate physical activity. The main purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of physical activity in the Portuguese population aged 10 yr and older using accelerometry.


The accelerometers were worn for four consecutive days, and a valid record was defined as at least 3 d with 10 h of wear time, including one weekend day. Considering these conditions, 4696 participants were included.


According to the recommendations of 60 min·d(-1) of physical activity, 36% of participants age 10-11 yr (boys = 51.6%, girls = 22.5%) and 4% age 16-17 yr (boys = 7.9%, girls = 1.2%) were considered sufficiently active. In adulthood, ∼70% of participants age 18-64 yr (men = 76.6%, women = 65.2%) and 35% age older than 64 yr (men = 46%, women = 29%) reached the recommendation of 30 min·d(-1) of physical activity, when counting every minute of moderate or greater intensity. Considering bouts of 10 min or more of moderate or greater intensity in participants older than 17 yr, the prevalence was 4%-6% at 18-39 yr, 7%-9% at 40-64 yr, and ∼3% in persons age 65 yr or older.


The design and implementation of strategies to promote physical activity for health among children and adolescents and older adults, particularly girls/women, should be encouraged.

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