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The Contribution of Leisure Center Usage to Physical Activity in the United Kingdom: Evidence From a Large Population-Based Cohort

Hanson, Coral; Kelly, Paul; Neubeck, Lis; Bell, Jordan; Gibb, Holly; Jin, Kai


Paul Kelly

Holly Gibb

Kai Jin


Background: Physical activity (PA) levels vary across specific population groups, contributing to health inequalities. Little is known about how local authority leisure centres contribute to population PA, and whether this differs by age, sex or socioeconomic group.

Methods: We calculated weekly leisure centre-based moderate/vigorous PA for 20,904 registered adult users of local authority leisure facilities in Northumberland, U.K., between July 2018-June 2019, using administrative data. We categorised activity levels (< 30 minutes/week, 30-149 minutes/week and 150+ minutes/week) and used ordinal regression to examine predictors for activity category achieved.

Results: Registered users were mainly female (58.7%), younger (23.9% aged 18-29 years versus 10.1% aged 70+ years) and from the two most affluent socio-economic quintiles (53.7%). Median weekly moderate/vigorous leisure centre-based activity was 55 (IQR 30-99) minutes/week. Being female (OR: 2.09, 95% CI: 1.95-2.35), older (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.11-1.16), and using a large facility (OR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.03-1.42) were positive predictors of leisure centre-based PA.

Conclusion: Older adults and females were more likely to be active and achieve recommended PA levels through centre usage. Widespread use of this novel measure of leisure centre-based activity would improve understanding of how local authority leisure centres can address physical inactivity and associated inequalities.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 11, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 3, 2021
Publication Date 2021-03
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 3, 2021
Print ISSN 1543-3080
Publisher Human Kinetics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 4
Pages 382-390
Keywords public health; exercise; community-based research; gender
Public URL


The Contribution Of Local Authority Leisure Provision To Physical Activity In The UK: Evidence From A Large Population-based Cohort (accepted version) (391 Kb)

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