Browsing by Organization "National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Department of Health, Functional Capacity and Welfare, Health and Welfare Inequalities Unit"

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  • Mäkinen, Tomi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Very limited scientific knowledge exists on the trends and explanations of socioeconomic differences in physical activity among adults. There is a paucity of studies examining whether determinants vary across socioeconomic position and different life stages. This study examines a) how socioeconomic differences in leisure-time and commuting physical activity have changed in Finland from 1978 to 2002 and b) the contribution of childhood socioeconomic position, adolescence sports and exercise, adulthood socioeconomic position, working conditions and other adulthood health behaviours to socioeconomic differences in leisure-time physical activity. This study utilised three population-based datasets collected by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, formerly National Institute for Public Health): the Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population Study from 1978 to 2002 (N=96 105), the National FINRISK Study 2002 and its physical activity sub-study (N= 9 179), and the Health 2000 Study (N=8 028). Survey information was collected by self-administered questionnaires, interviews at home, and measurements made at the study site. The response rates varied from 69 to 89 per cent. Several socioeconomic measures were linked from the national population registers. Based on the results, those with low income were physically inactive during leisure-time and while commuting from 1978 to 2002. Manual worker women, however, were more physically active commuters compared to their counterparts. Parental socioeconomic position contributed directly to adulthood educational differences in leisure-time physical inactivity but also indirectly through adulthood socioeconomic position (occupation, household income) and other unhealthy behaviours (mainly smoking). Among those with low education participation in competitive sports in youth and among those with high education exercise in late adolescence contributed to leisure-time physical activity in adulthood. Long exposure to physically strenuous working conditions in men and current job strain in women contributed to occupational class differences in leisure-time physical activity. Socioeconomic differences in physical activity have remained similar for twenty years in Finland. Educational career seems to have a strong contribution to physical activity. To adopt a lifelong physically active life-style, one should participate in a range of different sports and exercise in adolescence and in youth, have a low exposure to physically and mentally strenuous working conditions in later life and have other healthy behaviours in later life.