Explaining educational differences in leisure-time physical activity in Europe: the contribution of work-related factors

TE Makinen, R Sippola, K Borodulin, O Rahkonen, Anton Kunst, J Klumbiene, E Regidor, O Ekholm, Johan Mackenbach, R Prattala

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Although educational differences in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) exist across Europe, the independent effect of educational level on leisure-time physical activity has rarely been explored. This study examines the relative contribution of occupational class, employment status, and educational level to LTPA across 12 European countries. The data were obtained from 12 European health surveys conducted at the turn of the century and identified in the EUROTHINE project. All information was self-reported. Logistic regression was applied and relative inequality index (RII) was calculated. Analyses were limited to those in the prime working-age (age 3059; total N=137 646) men and women. In all 12 European countries, LTPA was more common in the high-educated than in the low-educated. The association between education and LTPA remained mostly unchanged after adjusting for marital status, urbanization, and self-rated health. After further adjusting for occupational class and employment status, the educational differences in LTPA were only slightly attenuated. An inverse association was found between educational level and LTPA across almost all 12 European countries. Occupational class and employment status had only a modest effect on educational differences in LTPA in most of the examined countries, suggesting that education remains an important predictor of LTPA.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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