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Monday 24th October 2016

Young not as fit as middle-aged

25th July 2008

A study of 60,000 adults has found that middle-aged men and women in England are more likely to play sport than younger people.


Those who were white and well off were most likely to exercise, according to the Health Survey for England.

The study conducted through the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, expressed concern at the widening gap between rich and poor.

Under the research focussing on the period between 1997 and 2006, more than 33,000 women and 27,000 men aged over 16 were questioned. It found a fall in young men taking part in activities such as cycling and running.

But overall, by the end of the study period, men were around 10% more likely to regularly play sport than in 1997 while women were 20% more likely with the numbers attending a gym or fitness class rising from 17% to 19.2% among men and from 15.9% to 18.7% among women.

But significantly, the study found the increase was not evenly spread over different age and socio-economic groups with people with higher incomes and in good health more likely to participate in sport.

Study leader Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis said older men and women might have taken up more activities in the exercise boom of the 1990s and then kept it up but it was difficult to explain why younger people were falling back to doing less sport.

The Department of Health is introducing schemes aimed at those least likely to do exercise.


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