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Malays J Nutr. 2011 Dec;17(3):385-91.

Influence of socio-demographic factors on physical activity participation in a sample of adults in Penang, Malaysia.

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Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



Given the importance of physical activity to health, this study investigated the socio-demographic determinants of physical activity participation in a sample of adults in Penang.


Through convenience sampling, a total of 398 adults agreed to answer a prepared questionnaire on their socio-demographic background and physical activity participation. The data were analysed using the binary logit model. Frequent physical activity participation is defined as taking part more than 11 times in leisure-time physical activity such as swimming and jogging, each time lasting more than 15 minutes in a typical month, whereas participation that is less than the frequency and time duration specified above is referred to as infrequent physical activity.


Age, male, being Chinese, high educational attainment, self-rated excellent health status and presence of family illnesses are positively associated with the likelihood of frequent participation in physical activity. On the contrary, being married, having low income and residing in rural areas are inversely related with the propensity of frequent physical activity participation.


The majority in this sample of adults do not participate in physical activity frequently, and the reasons given include lack of health awareness, limited leisure time, budget constraints, and lack of sports amenities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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