Background: Understanding patterns of physical activity and sedentary behavior is essential, but evidence from low- and middle-income countries remains limited. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the Thai population; their sociodemographic correlates; and the contribution of specific domains to total physical activity.
Methods: We analyzed data from the 2021 Health Behavior Survey, a nationally representative survey, conducted by the Thailand National Statistical Office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were assessed using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. “Sufficiently active” was defined according to the World Health Organization guidelines. “Highly sedentary” was defined as sitting ≥7 hours per day. The contribution of work, transport, and recreational physical activity was determined as the proportion of total physical activity. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to determine the correlates of being sufficiently active and being highly sedentary.
Results: Of the total study population (N = 78,717), 71.9% were sufficiently active, whereas 75.8% were highly sedentary. Females, having a labor-intensive work, and living in Bangkok had a higher likelihood of being sufficiently active. Those with higher education and income levels, and living in Bangkok and the Central region had a greater likelihood of being highly sedentary. The work domain contributed the highest proportion toward physical activity (82.1%), followed by the recreation (10.0%) and transport domains (7.9%).
Conclusions: Policies should focus on promoting transport and recreational physical activity and activity that can break up sedentary behavior among adults because when countries become technologically advanced, physical activity at work declines.