Table 1

Baseline characteristics of the sample by sex

Women (n=43 705)Men (n=36 601)All (n=80 306)p value for sex Δ *
Age, mean±SD (years)52.0±14.751.9±14.351.9±14.50.285
Body mass index, mean±SD (kg/m2)27.1±5.327.3±4.027.2±4.8<0.001
Long-standing illness† (%)47.747.747.70.909
Smoking (% current)‡24.325.524.9<0.001
Alcohol frequency (%≥5 times/week)§14.725.319.5<0.001
Psychological distress (% with GHQ score ≥4)¶16.812.514.9<0.001
Age finished education (age 19+)16.320.218.1<0.001
Total physical activity volume, median (MET**-hours/week)12.114.513.1<0.001
Meeting physical activity recommendations (%)43.145.644.3<0.001
Cycling—any intensity (% participated)7.313.09.9<0.001
Swimming—any intensity (% participated)14.711.913.4<0.001
Running—any intensity (% participated)<0.001
Football—any intensity (% participated)<0.001
Racquet—any intensity (% participated)<0.001
Aerobics—any intensity (% participated)<0.001
CVD prevalence at baseline (%)<0.001
  • The Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey.

  • *p value calculated using t-test for continuous or—due to the skewed distribution—the non-parametric Mann–Whitney U-test and likelihood ratio χ2 test for categorical variables.

  • †Dichotomous variable derived from responses to a series of questions (yes/no) on illness within eight listed body systems (eg, nervous system, digestive system, heart and circulatory system, etc), at least one illness required to have long-standing illness.

  • ‡Based on one question about smoking status with the options being: never, ex-regular smoker; ex-occasional smoker and current smoker.

  • §Derived from the question ‘on how many days in the last 7 days did you have an alcoholic drink’.

  • ¶General Health Questionnaire comprises 12 questions related to psychological health (eg, concentration, feeling depressed, etc) with the categories: 0, 1–3 and ≥4.

  • **MET, metabolic equivalent.

  • CVD, cardiovascular disease; GHQ, General Health Questionnaire.