Previous studies have examined participation in specific leisure-time physical activities (PA) among US adults. The purpose of this study was to identify specific activities that contribute substantially to total volume of leisure-time PA in US adults.
Proportion of total volume of leisure-time PA moderate-equivalent minutes attributable to 9 specific types of activities was estimated using self-reported data from 21,685 adult participants (≥ 18 years) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2006.
Overall, walking (28%), sports (22%), and dancing (9%) contributed most to PA volume. Attributable proportion was higher among men than women for sports (30% vs. 11%) and higher among women than men for walking (36% vs. 23%), dancing (16% vs. 4%), and conditioning exercises (10% vs. 5%). The proportion was lower for walking, but higher for sports, among active adults than those insufficiently active and increased with age for walking. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups, the proportion was lower for sports among non-Hispanic white men and for dancing among non-Hispanic white women.
Walking, sports, and dance account for the most activity time among US adults overall, yet some demographic variations exist. Strategies for PA promotion should be tailored to differences across population subgroups.