University of Oulu

Nejadghaderi, S. A., Ahmadi, N., Rashidi, M.-M., Ghanbari, A., Noori, M., Abbasi-Kangevari, M., Nasserinejad, M., Rezaei, N., Yoosefi, M., Fattahi, N., Ghasemi, E., Farzi, Y., Abdolhamidi, E., Darman, M., Djalalinia, S., & Farzadfar, F. (2023). Physical activity pattern in Iran: Findings from STEPS 2021. Frontiers in Public Health, 10, 1036219.

Physical activity pattern in Iran : findings from STEPS 2021

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Author: Nejadghaderi, Seyed Aria1,2; Ahmadi, Naser1; Rashidi, Mohammad-Mahdi1;
Organizations: 1Non-communicable Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Expert Group (SRMEG), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran
3Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Center for Life Course Heath Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
6Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
7Deputy of Health, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran
8Deputy of Research and Technology, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-03-28


Background: Insufficient physical activity (IPA) is a significant risk factor for various non-communicable diseases. The Iran action plan is a 20% reduction in IPA. Therefore, we aimed to describe the age and sex pattern of physical activity domains, IPA, the intensity of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and their associates at Iran’s national and provincial levels in 2021.

Methods: This study used the data of the STEPwise Approach to NCD Risk Factor Surveillance (STEPS) 2021 in Iran. The STEPS study used the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) version two developed by WHO for the assessment of physical activity, which included work, transport, and recreational activities domains. We showed and compared demographic and clinical characteristics of participants between males and females, using t-test and Chi-square test. A logistic regression model adjusted for residential areas, years of schooling, wealth index, age, marital status, and occupation has also been implemented. The results were presented as percentages and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: We included 27,874 participants with a mean (SD) age of 45.69 (15.91), among whom 12,479 (44.77%) were male. The mean prevalence of IPA for the whole population for all ages was 51.3% (50.62–51.98%). By sex, 41.93% (40.88–42.98%) and 57.87% (56.99–58.75%) of men and women had IPA, respectively. According to the physical activity domains, the age-standardized prevalence of no recreational activity was 79.40% (78.80–79.99%), no activity at work was 66.66% (65.99–67.32%), and no activity at transport was 49.40% (48.68–50.11%) for both sexes combined. Also, the overall age-standardized prevalence of sedentary behaviors was 50.82% (50.11–51.53%). Yazd province represented the highest prevalence of IPA (63.45%), while West Azerbaijan province represented the lowest prevalence (39.53%). Among both sexes, living in the urban area vs. rural area [adjusted OR: 1.44; (1.31–1.58)], married vs. single status [adjusted OR: 1.33; (1.16–1.53)], and wealth index of class 3 vs. class 1 [adjusted OR: 1.15; (1.01–1.30)] were significantly associated with a higher rate of IPA.

Conclusions: The prevalence of IPA was considerably high in Iran. To achieve the predefined goal of reducing IPA, the health system should prioritize increasing physical activity, especially in urban areas and among females.

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Series: Frontiers in public health
ISSN: 2296-2565
ISSN-E: 2296-2565
ISSN-L: 2296-2565
Volume: 10
Article number: 1036219
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1036219
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
315 Sport and fitness sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the National Institute of Health Research. The funding body had no direct role in any step of study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, or writing the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2023 Nejadghaderi, Ahmadi, Rashidi, Ghanbari, Noori, Abbasi-Kangevari, Nasserinejad, Rezaei, Yoosefi, Fattahi, Ghasemi, Farzi, Abdolhamidi, Darman, Djalalinia and Farzadfar. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.