Every participant completed a cycling fitness test while wearing an accelerometer on an elastic band around the waist. The purpose was to collect a week's measurements of the frequency, duration, and intensity level of individuals' exertion, on an everyday basis and during training sessions, if any.
The study's first author is Mats Börjesson, Professor of Sports Physiology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
" The results revealed groups at higher risk of low fitness. These were older and foreign-born people with low educational levels, large waist sizes, poor self-perceived health, and a highly sedentary lifestyle. They undertook little high-intensity physical activity, and those commuted passively by car or public transport," Börjesson says.
Among the men in the study, straitened personal finances and previous tobacco smoking were also linked to inferior fitness. Overall, the results show an uneven distribution in the population.
One crucial requirement for an ability to focus various types of input on boosting fitness in these groups, or take other measures to prevent ill health, is knowledge of which people have low fitness levels. Such knowledge partly existed before but was then usually derived from studies of a few participants or select groups, such as men only or people from a specific socioeconomic group.