Physical activity: key points

Public health implications

  • Regular physical activity of at least moderate intensity provides general health benefits across a range of diseases and across all ages.
  • The greatest health benefits occur when the least active people become moderately active.

Physical activity policy

  • Helping more people be more active, more often is an over-arching policy objective of the Scottish Government. This was reflected by the addition of a National Indicator to 'increase physical activity' to the National Performance Framework in 2012.
  • The key national legacy programme designed to influence population levels of activity in adults and children is the national Physical Activity Implementation Plan: A More Active Scotland. This 10 year plan links to the legacy ambitions of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Physical activity levels in Scotland

  • An estimated 63% of adults (aged 16 years and over) met the guideline to do at least 150 minutes moderate or 75 minutes vigorous activity (or an equivalent combination of these) over a week in 2014.
  • Men were significantly more likely than women to meet physical activity guidelines in 2014 (68% and 59%, respectively).
  • An estimated 76% of children (aged 2-15 years) in Scotland met the physical activity guideline for children in 2014 when including activity done at school. Boys (79%) were more likely than girls (73%) to meet the guideline.
  • The percentage of children meeting the physical activity guideline increased between 2008 and 2014.

Section updates:

  • The last major update of this section was completed in March 2016.
  • The next major update is due to be carried out by end June 2017.