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How to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour among older people, especially disadvantaged and marginalised groups

Taking part in physical activity and doing less sedentary behaviour (such as remaining seated and not moving often) has physical and mental health benefits.


We know that activity declines with age and that levels are well below Chief Medical Officer and World Health Organization recommendations, particularly among people from disadvantaged and marginalised groups (for example, those who are poorer).

Activity levels fell sharply during the pandemic, which has increased the risk of poor outcomes. Exercise interventions may have limited reach among disadvantaged older people, who lack resources (such as health, social, cultural, financial and environmental resources) to take part.

Changing physical activity across society needs interventions that are sensitive to social circumstances and targeted at individuals and populations.

Aims and objectives

Our aim is to understand how best to increase uptake and adherence in physical activity among disadvantaged and marginalised older people (aged 50+) to improve health and wellbeing.

We will:

  • study interventions delivered to populations and to individuals;
  • explore which aspects of marginalisation and disadvantage have been addressed;
  • explore how the effects of interventions vary across populations (such as gender) and settings (such as urban and rural).


We will use a number of methods, including reviews of the existing literature, as well as organising workshops with patients and professionals.

We will also look nationally to find recent innovations not identified in the published literature.

Policy relevance

This will be relevant across many government departments and will produce guidance on what works with individuals and populations.

We will also highlight the gaps in evidence on physical activity in disadvantaged and marginalised populations.

Delivery dates

June 2024 – June 2026


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