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Acta Med Scand. 1988;224(3):195-203.

10-year trends in physical activity in the eastern Finnish adult population: relationship to socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics.

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Department of Epidemiology, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


In a large, community-based cardiovascular disease prevention study in Eastern Finland, independent random population samples were surveyed in 1972, 1977 and 1982. The leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), occupational physical activity (OPA), and socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics were assessed. In men and women aged 30-59, the proportion with high LTPA increased from 1972 to 1982 by approximately one half (p less than 0.001), whereas that of high OPA decreased during the same period (p less than 0.001). In both sexes, high overall physical activity fell from 1972 to 1977 (p less than 0.001), but no more from 1977 to 1982. The proportion of entirely sedentary remained stable. Education, income and younger age showed a positive, body mass index, smoking and OPA a graded, negative association with high LTPA in 1972 and 1982. Significant (p less than 0.001) differences in 10-year trends of changes in LTPA were observed: men and women with low education or income increased LTPA more than those with high education and income. Socioeconomic factors, such as income and education, appear to have lost importance as determinants of population-wide exercise, whereas the clustering of low physical activity with overweight and smoking has increased.

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