Open Access Open Badges Research article

The Correlates of Leisure Time Physical Activity among an Adults Population from Southern Taiwan

Yi-Ju Chen12, Ying-Hsiang Huang2, Feng-Hwa Lu23, Jin-Shang Wu23, Linda L Lin1, Chih-Jen Chang23 and Yi-Ching Yang23*

Author Affiliations

1 Graduate Institute of Physical Education, Health & Leisure Studies, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Republic of China

2 Department of Family Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Taiwan, Republic of China

3 Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, No.138, Sheng Li Road, Tainan, Taiwan 70403, Republic of China

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:427  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-427

Published: 3 June 2011



Assessing the correlates of practicing physical activity during leisure time is important with regard to planning and designing public health strategies to increase beneficial behaviors among adult populations. Although the importance of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is highlighted in many Western countries, there are not many publications on physical activity patterns, and even less on their correlates, in non-Western societies. The goal of this study was thus to explore the determinants influencing adults' leisure time physical activity (LTPA) in a city in southern Taiwan.


A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted in 2007, using a standardized questionnaire. Energy expenditure was dichotomized into two groups based on the recommended levels of moderate physical activity from LTPA: ≥10 or < 10 MET·hr·wk-1. Logistic regression analyses were applied to the results.


A total of 762 subjects with valid data took part in the study (mean age 53.8 ± 13.8 years). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, we found the following results: Age was positively associated with LTPA. Adults with stronger perceived convenience of exercise facilities (OR = 2.04; 95%CI = 1.28-3.24) and past exercise experience in school (OR = 1.86; 95%CI= 1.19-2.91) participated in more LTPA. Subjects with more general social support (OR = 1.66;95%CI = 1.13-2.44), greater knowledge about the health benefits of exercise (OR = 1.85;95%CI = 1.25-2.74), more sports media consumption (OR = 1.94;95%CI = 1.26-2.98), and higher self-efficacy (OR = 3.99;95%CI = 2.67-5.97) were more likely to engage in LTPA. Further analysis comparing different sources of social support showed only social support from friends had a significant positive association (OR = 1.73;95%CI = 1.14-2.63) with increased LTPA.


LTPA in southern city of Taiwan showed some unique associations with age, socioeconomic status and media consumption that are not commonly reported in the Western World and similar associations with regards to psychosocial correlates of LTPA participation. Further studies from developing countries are warranted to highlight culture-specific differences in physical activity participation.