Study Reveals High Percentage of Adults Not Meeting Physical Activity Recommendations

A recent study conducted by Santé publique France has found that 41% of women and 27% of men are not engaging in enough physical activity as recommended by health authorities. The study surveyed 24,500 individuals throughout the year 2021 to assess their physical activities and sedentary behaviors.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults to engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. The study also considered sitting for more than seven hours a day as a sedentary behavior.

Men, particularly those with lower educational levels, were less likely to meet the physical activity recommendations. The study revealed that individuals without a high school diploma were less likely to achieve the activity goals compared to those with a diploma. Additionally, employed men were more likely to meet the recommendations than unemployed men.

Regionally, Brittany and Occitanie were identified as the regions with the highest levels of physical activity among respondents. Conversely, Île-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est, and Centre-Val-de-Loire had the lowest rates of physical activity. Île-de-France stood out for having a high percentage of individuals reporting sitting for more than seven hours a day.

Furthermore, the study highlighted that more than one in five adults reported sitting for more than seven hours a day, and 39% spent over three hours per day in front of a screen outside of work. However, most adults reported taking breaks from prolonged sitting every two hours, as recommended.

The study emphasized the importance of targeting women, older adults, and individuals with lower education levels to promote physical activity. Recommendations included diversifying sports offerings, improving accessibility, revitalizing urban spaces, promoting cycling infrastructure, and making sports facilities more accessible.

The study also underscored the role of urban planning, public transportation density, and the availability of parks in encouraging higher levels of physical activity across all demographic groups. Santé publique France suggested taking a holistic approach beyond individual behavior change interventions to promote a more active lifestyle.