BERLIN -- As the 2012 London Olympics gets underway, Britons living in the nation's capital are less likely to be exercising frequently than Britons elsewhere in the country -- and they also lag behind Berliners and those who reside elsewhere in Germany. About half of adult residents in London say they exercise for at least 30 minutes three or more times per week, compared with 54% for the rest of the UK.
Seven in 10 residents of the German capital Berlin exercise frequently, slightly fewer than the 74% who report they do so in the rest of the country. In both the UK and Germany, people living in the capital city are slightly less likely to say they exercise regularly than citizens elsewhere in the country.
Gallup and Healthways have been tracking Britons' and Germans' exercise habits monthly since early 2011 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Britons are about as likely as Americans to exercise frequently, with both populations lagging behind Germany.
Young and Middle-Aged London Residents Less Likely to Exercise Frequently
Young and middle-aged London residents are less likely to exercise frequently than are their counterparts elsewhere in the country and in Berlin and Germany. The middle-aged lag the most -- 42% of London residents aged 45 to 64 exercise frequently versus 68% of Berlin residents in the same age group.
However, in both London and Berlin, it is the oldest age group -- those aged 65 and older -- who are the most likely to exercise frequently. Interestingly, this is different than in the U.S., where seniors are among the least likely to exercise frequently.
Women in London Less Likely to Exercise Frequently
Women in London are less likely than men and women in other parts of the country to report exercising frequently. Men in London, by comparison, exercise as much as men elsewhere in the UK -- but British men exercise less than their German counterparts.
The London Olympics present a unique opportunity for highlighting the benefits of sports and physical exercise.
Policymakers in London and Berlin should take note that their residents are less likely to exercise frequently than the rest of the UK and Germany, respectively. Residents living in capital cities -- and large cities in general -- may face unique challenges in getting enough exercise, such as more demanding work schedules, longer commuting times, and less open space.
The advantages of frequent exercise are widely known and include lower risk of heart- and diabetes-related disease, better mood, weight control, and a longer life expectancy. The negative effects of not exercising have long-term consequences for individuals and healthcare systems.
View all Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index questions and methodology.
About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks well-being in the U.S., U.K., and Germany and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey from March 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, with a random monthly sample of approximately 950 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the United Kingdom or Germany, selected using random-digit-dial sampling. The total sample on the question of exercising for this period was 1,461 adults in London, 13,002 in the rest of the UK, 789 in Berlin and 14,566 in the rest of Germany.
For results based on the total sample of adults one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error in London is ±3.2 percentage points, ±1.1 percentage points in the rest of the UK, ±4.4 percentage points in Berlin, and ±1.0 percentage points in the rest of Germany. The margin of sampling error for the gender and age-based subgroups is between ±4.5 to ±8.2 percentage points in London and between ±6.0 to ±8.4 percentage points in Berlin.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones. Samples are weighted by gender, age, education, region, adults in the household, and cell phone status. Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recently published population data from the British and German Statistics Offices. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.