Socioeconomic Predictors of a Sedentary Lifestyle: Results From the 2001 National Health Survey

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Adrienne Brown
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Mohammad Siahpush
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Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a number of diseases, prevents obesity, and has positive psychological effects. Approximately one-third of the Australian population has been reported as totally sedentary. We investigated socioeconomic predictors of being sedentary in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.


We analyzed data from 8643 females and 7600 males who responded to the 2001 National Health Survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of being sedentary with a range of socioeconomic measures.


Adjusting for demographics, body-mass index, and smoking, we found that low socioeconomic status, indicated by low education level, blue-collar occupation, low income and area social disadvantage, increased the probability that people were sedentary.


This research highlights that targeting people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with strategies to increase participation in physical activity may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with being sedentary.

Brown is with the ORYGEN Research Centre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. Siahpush is with the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia.

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