Our purpose was to assess the direct and indirect contribution of childhood socio-economic conditions to educational differences in leisure-time physical activity among women and men.
Population-based data were derived from a representative sample of Finns aged >or=30 years (N = 7112) as part of Health 2000 Survey. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was applied. Leisure-time physical activity was divided into inactivity, moderate and high activity.
Childhood socio-economic conditions had both a direct and indirect effect through adulthood socio-economic conditions on educational differences in leisure-time physical activity. The direct effect of childhood socio-economic conditions on educational differences in inactivity was stronger than its indirect effects through adulthood socio-economic conditions and other health behaviours and related factors. Adulthood socio-economic conditions had a considerable indirect effect on educational differences in leisure-time physical activity through other adulthood health behaviours and related factors among men.
In order to narrow educational differences in leisure-time physical activity, we should secure a childhood environment that enables a physically active lifestyle, support leisure-time physical activity in diverse occupational groups, guarantee equal physical activity possibilities across different educational careers and support those with insufficient material resources.