The purpose of the study is to evaluate age and gender differences in objectively measured levels of physical activity (PA) in a large and diverse sample of residents from an urban area in Porto, Portugal.
Participants included 822 residents, 334 males (41%), and 488 females (59%), aged 6 to 90 years. GT1M accelerometer was used to assess daily PA over 7 consecutive days, and the measurement was from October (2007) to June (2008).
Males were more active than females. This difference was attenuated in the 2 oldest age groups (40−59 and 60+ yrs). An accentuated declined in all PA variables occurred between the youngster group (6−11 yrs) and adolescents group (12−19 yrs). Surprisingly, young adults (20−39 yrs) engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) than adolescents. Further, females also had higher MVPA in the fourth group (40−59 yrs) compared with the second group (12−19 yrs). Males had higher compliance rates of PA guidelines than females regardless the age group considered. Adolescents had very low compliance rates (females = 18.18%; males = 33.50%).
Porto metropolitan area residents had low rates of compliance with current PA guidelines. A low level of PA in Porto adolescents is a matter of concern and suggests that interventions are needed.
Silva, Aires, Santos, Vale, and Mota are with the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health, and Leisure, Faculty of Sport University of Porto, Portugal. Welk is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.