Table 1

Baseline characteristics of the sample by walking pace. Walkers aged 30 years and over with no diagnosed cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline

Walking paceP value*
Slow paceAverage paceFairly brisk paceFast pace
Age, mean (SD) (years)57.851.147.744.6<0.001
Sex (% female)61.058.552.240.5<0.001
Body mass index, mean (SD) (kg/m2)28.6 (5.7)27.3 (4.7)26.1 (4.1)25.5 (3.9)<0.001
Long-standing illness† (%)64.641.935.433.0<0.001
Smoking (% current)23.924.021.527.5<0.001
Alcohol frequency (% ≥5 times/week)‡18.718.722.424.5<0.001
Psychological distress (% with General Health Questionnaire score ≥4)§20.111.911.612.2<0.001
Age finished education (% finished age 19+)12.918.126.329.0<0.001
Meeting the physical activity recommendations¶8.917.247.552.4<0.001
Highest PA intensity reached (%)
 No physical activity11.<0.001
 Light intensity only63.452.514.414.8
 Reached moderate intensity11.815.342.937.2
 Reached vigorous intensity13.124.337.743.0
MET-hours of physical activity per week, median (SE)8.0 (0.38)17.0 (0.20)23.1 (0.31)32.0 (0.80)<0.001
Number of days walked per week, median (SE)2.0 (0.04)2.5 (0.02)2.5 (0.02)3.0 (0.05)<0.001
MET-hours of walking per week (any pace), median (SE)2.3.5 (0.12)4.9 (0.08)6.1 (0.12)9.4 (0.39)<0.001
  • The Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey (n=50 225).

  • *P value calculated using Kruskal-Wallis test for continuous variables 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, and so on). At least one illness required to have long-standing illness.

  • ‡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, and so on); the categories were 0, 1–3 and ≥4.

  • ¶At least 150 min of moderate-intensity activity or 75 min/week of vigorous-intensity activity or equivalent combinations of moderate and vigorous activities.

  • MET, metabolic equivalent; PA, physical activity.