Meeting physical activity levels among adults in England 1997-2016, by age group

This statistic displays the trend in meeting physical activity recommendations in England from 1997 to 2016, by age group. The graphic shows that a greater share of men and women met activity recommendations annually during the period in consideration. In 2016, it was found that 69 percent of individuals aged 16 to 24 met the recommended physical activity guidelines.

Share of adults meeting recommended physical activity levels in England from 1997 to 2016, by age group

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Release date

December 2017


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

1997 to 2016

Number of respondents


Age group

16 years and older

Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

* n (2016) = 7,946; n (2012) = 8,234; n (2008) = 14,922; n (2006) = 14,145; n (2004) = 6,692; n (2003) = 14,789; n (1998) = 15,887; n (1997) = 8,553. Data up to and including 2002 are unweighted; from 2003 onwards data have been weighted for non-response.
The source provides the following notes:
-The categories for physical activity were renamed in 2008 to describe more accurately what they represent, since the category formerly labelled 'High' is in fact the group that meets government recommendations for the minimum level of activity to achieve health benefits.
-In 2008, an enhanced physical activity questionnaire was introduced for adults, and in 2011 new physical activity recommendations were introduced. To allow comparison across HSE years, 'original' results have been calculated for 2008 and 2012 based on the previous recommendations (at least 30 minutes per day of at least moderate intensity on at least five days per week). These results are directly comparable with previous years; episodes of activity of less than 30 minutes have been excluded, and occupational activity has been included without using additional data from the extended questionnaire.
-The enhanced physical activity questionnaire was introduced for adults in 2008, with additional questions relating to occupational activity, sedentary activity, and follow-up questions for certain activities. The reference period for bouts of activities to report was 10 minutes. Further refinements to the questionnaire were introduced in 2012, mainly to reflect the new physical activity recommendations introduced in 2011; however these further refinements have not been used in the revised method presented here in the trend tables so that results for 2008 and 2012 are directly comparable. Revised results for 2008 and 2012 are presented in this graphic based on the new recommendations for physical activity (at least 150 minutes moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes vigorous activity per week or an equivalent combination of these). Note that the figures in this graphic for 2012 are slightly different from those shown in the 2012 report for adults aged 16 and over (which took into account the 2012 questionnaire refinements). Full details of the revised methods are outlined in the 2012 report, Chapter 2.
-Meets recommendations:
Up to 2011: at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity on at least 5 days a week New guidelines: at least 150 minutes moderate or 75 minutes vigorous activity per week or an equivalent combination of these.

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Statistics on "Physical activity in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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