Differing lifecourse associations with sport-, occupational- and household-based physical activity at age 49–51 years: the Newcastle Thousand Families Study
Objectives We investigated the contributions of a range of factors from across life to variations in physical activity within the Newcastle Thousand Family’s birth cohort. Methods At age 49–51 years, 574 study members returned questionnaires, including details of physical activity (occupational, commuting, household and sport). Factor analysis of activity types produced two retained factor scores, ‘sport’ and ‘other physical activity’, analysed by path analysis. Results More advantaged current social class, higher education level and not smoking were associated with increased sport activity, but not ‘other physical activity’. Males had higher levels of occupational and lower levels of household activity than females. Smokers had increased work activity. Long-term illness was associated with lower activity across all types. Current social class and smoking showed the highest relative contribution for ‘sport’ and long-term illness for ‘other physical activity’. Conclusion Increasing activity in adults requires better understanding what the barriers to maintaining or taking on new levels of physical activity are, and long-term strategies and public health interventions need to be developed to engage adults in interesting, affordable and available activities.