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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Socioeconomic position and work, travel, and recreation-related physical activity in Japanese adults: a cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Munehiro Matsushita, Kazuhiro Harada, Takashi Arao
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MM, KH, and TA participated in the design of this study. MM performed the data mining and the statistical analysis, and contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript. KH contributed to the statistical analysis and editing of the manuscript. TA assisted in the writing and editing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The aim of this study was to examine the association between socioeconomic position and the domains of physical activity connected with work, travel, and recreation in Japanese adults.


A total of 3269 subjects, 1651 men (mean ± standard deviation; 44.2 ± 8.1 years) and 1618 women (44.1 ± 8.1 years), responded to an Internet-based cross-sectional survey. Data on socioeconomic (household income, educational level) and demographic variables (age, size of household, and household motor vehicles) were obtained. To examine the associations between socioeconomic position and physical activity, logistic regression analysis was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and confidence interval (CI) for “active” domains of physical activity.


Men with a household income of ≥7 million yen had significantly lower work-related physical activity than the lowest income group (OR 0.51; 95 % CI, 0.35–0.75), but significantly greater travel-related (OR 1.37; 1.02–1.85), recreational (OR 2.00; 1.46–2.73) and total physical activity (OR 1.56; 1.17–2.08). Women with a household income of ≥7 million yen had significantly greater recreational physical activity (OR 1.43; 1.01–2.04) than the lowest income group. Their total physical activity was borderline significant, with slightly more activity in the high-income group (OR 1.36; 1.00–1.84), but no significant differences for work- and travel-related physical activity. Men with higher educational level (4-year college or higher degree) had significantly lower work-related (OR 0.62; 0.46–0.82), and greater travel-related physical activity (OR 1.33; 1.04–1.71) than the lowest educated group, but there were no significant differences in recreational and total physical activity. Women with a 4-year college or higher degree had significantly greater travel-related physical activity than the lowest educated group (OR 1.49; 1.12–1.97), but there were no significant differences in any other physical activity. There was no relation between working full time and physical activity in men, but women working full-time have significantly lower and not higher travel related physical activity. (OR 0.75; 0.59–0.96).


This study suggests that lower socioeconomic position is associated with more work-related physical activity, and less travel-related, recreational and total physical activity, and that this was more pronounced in men than in women.
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