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OBJECTIVE: To report on the contribution walking makes to total weekly physical activity and the relationship between the volume and intensity of walking and leanness in a representative sample of the Northern Ireland population. METHOD: 4563 adults participated in this cross-sectional survey of physical activity behaviour. Self-reported height and weight was used to determine inverse body mass index (iBMI) as a measure of leanness. Data across all domains of physical activity including self-reported volume and intensity of walking (in bouts of 10 min or more) were analysed to determine their contribution to leanness using ANCOVA, having controlled for age, gender, socio-economic and smoking status. RESULTS: Over 68% of the participants reported walking >10 minutes during the previous week but only 24% report walking at a brisk or fast pace. Time walking at a brisk or fast pace for personal transport was identified as having the strongest positive association with being lean (F(1,4256)=10.45, β=0.051 cm(2) kg(-1) min(-1) (SE=0.016),P=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In addition to increasing the amount of walking and the percentage of people walking regularly, public health messages encouraging an increase in walking pace may be valuable to increase the proportion of the population meeting physical activity guidelines and gaining associated health benefits.

Original publication




Journal article


Prev Med

Publication Date





140 - 144


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Body Mass Index, Confidence Intervals, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Promotion, Health Status, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Northern Ireland, Self Report, Sports, Statistics as Topic, Thinness, Walking, Young Adult