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Yoga practice in England 1997-2008: prevalence, temporal trends, and correlates of participation

Ding Ding1* and Emmanuel Stamatakis123

Author Affiliations

1 Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, Level 2, Medical Foundation Building, University of Sydney, 94 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia

2 Physical Activity Research Group (UCL-PARG), Population Health Domain, University College London, London, UK

3 Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, London, UK

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BMC Research Notes 2014, 7:172  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-172

Published: 24 March 2014



Yoga is a holistic practice that may offer several health benefits. No study has examined the prevalence, temporal trends, or correlates of yoga practice at the population level in a European country and very few such studies exist worldwide. The objective of the study is to examine the prevalence, trends and correlates of yoga practice in England between 1997 and 2008.


Analysis was conducted in early 2013 using Health Survey for England data. Independent cohorts, representative of adults living in England, were surveyed in annual cycles in 1997-1999, 2003-2004, and 2006/2008. Prevalence of yoga practice (defined as any practice in the past four weeks) was determined at each time point and multiple logistic regression was used to examine temporal trends (using 1997-1999 as reference time point) and the correlates of yoga practice. The prevalence of yoga practice was 0.46% (95% CI: 0.39%-0.52%) in 1997-1999, 0.94% (0.83%-1.06%) in 2003-2004, and 1.11% (0.95%-1.28%) in 2006/2008. Yoga participants in England were more likely to be older, female, degree educated, of non-manual social class, lower BMI, better self-rated general health, inactive occupation, and higher moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Adjusted for age, sex, social class, and long standing illnesses, there was a significant increasing trend of yoga practice from 1997 to 2008 (2003/04 OR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.59-2.34; 2006/08 OR = 2.19, 95% CI: 1.77-2.71).


Yoga practice has increased in popularity, though the absolute rates are still relatively low. Future population studies should more comprehensively examine the contexts, settings, styles, correlates and health benefits of yoga practice.

Yoga; Exercise; Trends; Prevalence; England