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Physical activity in urban Portuguese adults according to age, intensity and sex
  1. Joana André,
  2. João Carvalho,
  3. Luís Raia,
  4. João Martins,
  5. Adilson Marques
  1. Francisco Carreiro da Costa Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Cruz Quebrada – Dafundo, Portugal


The aim was to analyse physical activity (PA) practice of urban Portuguese adults, according to age, intensity and sex. 2657 people (1130 male, 1527 female), aged from 20 to 60 (43±7), participated in the study. Data was collected using a questionnaire about PA type, intensity and amount (frequency and duration). The intensity of PA was divided in low PA (LPA) and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA), according to the compendium of PA. Student's t-test, ANOVA, and the Kruskal-Wallis were used to analyse sex and age differences. The subjects reported to practise PA an average of 2.9±3.1 times (male 3.0±3.1, female 2.9±3.1) and 184±214 min/week (male 210±235, female 164±195). For the entire sample there was no significant differences between sexes regarding the number of times they practise PA per week (p=0.459), but differences were found in the practice of LPA (male 155±70 min/week, female 89±52 min/week, p<0.001) and MVPA (male 224±117 min/week, female 182±94 min/week, p<0.001). Analysing each age-group, men reported to practise significantly more min/week of LPA than women, with the exception of the youngsters (31–40 y – 152±72 vs 101±54, p=0.010; 41–50 y – 147±62 vs 88±54, p=0.001; 51–60 y – 203±80 vs 60±30, p=0.004). For the time expended practising MVPA, it was observed that youngsters and older men and women were not statistically different, even though the men responded to practise more time (20–30 y – 288±127 vs 197±114, p=0.060; 51–60 y – 230±112 vs 207±107, p=0.395). On the other hand, differences on MVPA were found between men and women with 31–40 y (226±123 vs 171±92, p<0.001) and 41–50 y (217±113 vs 187±91, p=0.010). The results showed that although men and women practise PA every week almost the same number of times, men are more active, exercising for longer time than women. We believe that the results are related to the social role attributed to females in society.

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