‘This is timely and will be of special interest to health service managers and members of primary care groups because the successful promotion of regular physical activity is a challenge contained in the strategy of Our Healthier Nation and is a candidate for incorporation into health improvement programmes and the service framework for coronary heart disease’ — Health Service Journal This crisply written and thought-provoking book integrates theories and studies from several disciplines to examine what is known about physical activity and health.

The Descriptive Epidemiology of Physical Activity

The descriptive epidemiology of physical activity

In this chapter, we discuss a key element of the information needed to allow public health researchers and practitioners to proceed from a scientific understanding of the health benefits of more physically active lifestyles to appropriate and effective initiatives to promote physical activity. Descriptive epidemiology deals, in large part, with the distribution of health behaviors and other health risks in the population as a whole and in particular social groups, settings, or localities. Descriptive epidemiology studies of physical activity play a key role in shaping national policy (e.g., Booth, Bauman, Owen, & Gore, 1997; Killoran, Fentem, & Caspersen, 1994).

This chapter describes selected studies that may be characterized as the descriptive epidemiology (or demography) of ...

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