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Public Attitudes to Physical Activity in Glasgow

Date: January 2011
Category: Briefing Paper

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The report ‘Public Attitudes on Physical Activity’ presents a summary of research undertaken last year in Glasgow by EKOS for Glasgow Centre for Population Health, on behalf of the Scottish Government The key findings of the report: 

  • the study found a high level of self-reported physical activity – higher than in past research – and is almost certainly an over-estimation of the actual level of physical activity. The majority of this activity took place in informal settings rather than formal sports facilities; 
  • attitudes to physical activity are generally positive, and people have a high degree of awareness of the positive benefits of exercise in all its forms. 
  • positive attitudes to exercise are a necessary but not sufficient condition for undertaking exercise. The data appear to confirm the theory of planned behaviour in that those that undertake more physical activity tend to have positive attitudes, place greater importance on the influence of significant others and express a high degree of personal control over their actions. 
  • there appears also to be a relationship between self esteem and physical activity, although the direction of causality is not clear. 
  • the main factors motivating people to undertake physical activity relate to health, fitness, well being and enjoyment, although the least active are less likely to consider these important; 
  • individual recreational sports and active travel are the kinds of activity that most would like to undertake, albeit with some differences relating to gender (men are keener on competitive sports). Those that are currently inactive are also more likely to voice a preference for low impact activities. 

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Dr Rosie Ilett via e-mail.