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Arch Hellen Med, 23(2), March-April 2006, 149-158


Physical activity of 28,030 men and women of the Greek EPIC cohort

Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE The assessment of the physical activity of the Greek EPIC population.

METHOD A standardized, closed-ended, interviewer administered physical activity questionnaire was used to assess the participation of the Greek subjects of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC) (11,555 men and 16,475 women) in a variety of activities during their leisure time.

RESULTS Walking is the most frequent physical activity for men (93.6%) with a median duration of 6.5 hours per week. Women are mostly active in household tasks (98%) with a median time spent in these activities of 28 hours per week. Of the men, 58.1% are occupied with household tasks, and 47.4% with gardening. During their leisure time, 36.9% of men are doing sports for physical fitness, such as aerobics, swimming, jogging, tennis, etc. whereas 23.3% are occupied with home repairs. Only 5.6% of men cycle during leisure time. The proportion of women who walk during leisure time is 95.8% with a median time of 5 hours per week. Regarding the rest of the activities 61.6% of the women are occupied with gardening, 29.4% do sports for physical fitness, 5.8% are occupied with home repairs and 3.2% cycle. The median times spent in each of the above activities are 4, 1.5, 2, and 3 hours per week for women, and 5, 1.5, 2, and 3 for men, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS In this study, walking and housekeeping chores are the most frequent activities during leisure time for both genders. The reported daily duration of walking in Greece meets the guidelines of the World Health Organization; however the intensity of walking should also be evaluated. ‘his study also identified a significant proportion of Greeks who do not exercise in any way apart from walking and housekeeping (activities which are an integral part of everyday living). This is a message that should be taken into account from a public health point of view and this group of people should be targeted in a public health policy aiming at promoting physical activity for a healthy living.

Key words: EPIC, Epidemiological research, Physical activity.

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