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Charlotte Harvey, Pheobe Ratcliffe, Martin Gulliford

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Jun 2020

King's Authors


Objectives: We investigated whether physical activity is associated with greater wellbeing in people with multiple long-term conditions or limiting long-term illness. Study design: Cross-sectional analysis of data from the Health Survey for England 2016. Methods: The Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing score (WEMWBS) was evaluated according to number of days per week with >30 minutes moderate or vigorous activity. Limiting long-term illness and number of long-term conditions were evaluated as effect modifiers, adjusting for age, sex, smoking, body mass index and education. Marginal effects were estimated for female non-smokers, aged 45 to 54 years. Results: Data were analysed for 5,952 adults (female, 3,275; male, 2,677) including 1,104 (19%) with non-limiting long-term illness and 1,486 (25%) with limiting long-term illness (LLI). There were 2,065 (35%) with 1-2 long-term conditions, 461 (8%) with 3-4 and 58 (1%) with 5-6 long-term conditions. Participants with LLI were less likely to engage in physical activity on 5 or more days per week (LLI, 24%; No LLI, 47%) and more likely to be inactive (LLI, 41%; No LLI 13%). The adjusted marginal mean WEMWBS for inactive participants with no long-term illness was 49.0 (95% confidence interval 48.1 to 50.0), compared with 51.1 (50.4 to 51.8) if active on 5+ days per week. In limiting long-term illness, the adjusted marginal mean WEMWBS was 41.6 (40.7 to 42.5) if inactive but 47.6 (46.6 to 48.6) if active on 5+ days per week. Similar associations were observed for the number of long-term conditions. Conclusions: Physical activity may be associated with greater increments in wellbeing among people with multiple long-term conditions or limiting long-term illness than those without.

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