Comparative analysis of reported physical activity from leisure centres’ members versus the general population in Spain

Jorge Lopez Fernandez, Alejandro Lopez-Valenciano, Xian Mayo, Elizabeth Horton, Ivan Clavel, Gary Liguori, Alfonso Jimenez

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OBJECTIVES: (1) To describe the physical activity (PA) levels of the members of a Spanish leisure centre operator according to age and gender; (2) to describe the differences in the three PA levels between the members of a Spanish leisure centre operator and the general Spanish population considering the PA Eurobarometer data according to their gender and age and (3) to explore the intensity origin of the PA either in Spanish members of leisure centres or the Spanish population considering their gender. DESIGN: Descriptive epidemiology study. PARTICIPANTS: Data from 16 Spanish leisure centres (n=3627) and from the 2017 Eurobarometer 472 for Spain (n=1002) were used for this research. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES MEASURES: The PA levels were analysed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire short version, and respondents were grouped into physical inactivity (PIA), moderate-PA and high-PA. Moreover, gender (men or women) and age (18-29 years; 30-44 years; 45-59 years; 60-69 years; ≥70 years) were considered. Total metabolic equivalent (MET)-min/week, as well as total MET-min/week for walking intensity, moderate intensity and vigorous intensity were recorded. RESULTS: Leisure centres showed a lower prevalence of PIA and a higher prevalence of high-PA than the general population (p<0.05). Women displayed a higher prevalence of PIA and lower prevalence of high-PA than men (p<0.05). The prevalence of PIA increases with age while the prevalence of high-PA decreases. CONCLUSION: Leisure centres engage most of their members in regular PA, including women and older adults, and these members also perform a higher number of MET in vigorous PA, than the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere043963
Pages (from-to)e043963
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:


  • physiology
  • public health
  • sports medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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