Background: No data on leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) are available in Brazil for a representative sample of the whole country. The current study describes LTPA levels of the Brazilian adult and elderly populations and explores its association with sex, age, and schooling. Methods: A countrywide household-based crosssectional study was carried out, including separate samples of adult and elderly individuals from 23 states in Brazil selected through a multistage approach. LTPA was assessed using the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. A cut-off point of 150 minutes per week was used. Results: 12,402 adult and 6617 elderly individuals were interviewed in 100 cities. The proportion of individuals below the 150 minutes per week threshold in terms of LTPA was 82.6% (95% CI 81.9; 83.2) among the adults and 86.5% (95% CI 85.7; 87.3) among elderly individuals. Among adults, prevalence estimates were very consistent across regions. Elderly subjects living in states in the Northeast and North regions of the country were less active than those from the other regions. A clear positive dose-response association was observed between LTPA and schooling. Conclusion: Alarming rates of low levels of LTPA are found in Brazil, thus suggesting the need of urgent actions.
Keywords: community-based research, epidemiology, health, public health, survey research