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Frequency of vigorous activity 20+ minutes: Time period

Codes and Frequencies

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VIG20FTP2 reports the time period (never, day, week, month, year) that respondents used to describe the frequency of vigorous leisure-time physical activity that they engaged in for at least 20 minutes. This variable must be interpreted in conjunction with VIG20FNO2, which reports the number of units corresponding to the time period in VIG20FTP2. For example, a respondent who runs once a day would have a VIG20FNO2 value of 1 (to indicate 1 time) and a VIG20FTP2 value of 2 (which is the IPUMS NHIS code for "day").

VIG20FWK2, a recoded variable created by the staff at the National Center for Health Statistics, draws upon the information in VIG20FTP2 and VIG20FNO2 and reports the frequency of vigorous leisure-time physical activities (for at least 20 minutes) in terms of a single time unit, times per week.

Vigorous activities are described in the survey question itself as activities that "cause heavy sweating or large increases in breathing or heart rate." The Field Representative's Manuals for 1997 forward provide examples of vigorous leisure-time physical activities, although these examples were not routinely shared with respondents. These examples include fast walking, fast bicycling, jogging, strenuous swimming or sports play, vigorous aerobic dance, and strenuous gardening.


Due to an error in the wording of the survey question, VIG20FTP2 is only available for quarters 1 and 2 of 1997. At that time respondents were asked to report how frequently they engaged in physical activities lasting a minimum of 20 minutes. This mistake was corrected beginning in quarter 3 of 1997, when the minimum duration of physical activity was lowered to 10 minutes.

To allow analysis of vigorous leisure-time physical activity across all quarters of 1997, the National Center for Health Statistics created "transitional" variables for 1997 only, covering respondents who exercised vigorously for at least 20 minutes.


See VIG20FNO2 for a list and discussion of these transitional variables on vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes. which are available for 1997 only.

Researchers who wish to analyze data from multiple years on adults' leisure-time vigorous physical activity should restrict their data from 1997 to quarters 3 and 4 and use variables beginning with "VIG10."


See VIG10FNO for an overview of the variables relating to adults' leisure-time physical activity for at least 10 minutes for the third quarter of 1997 forward.


  • 1997: Sample adults age 18+ in quarters 1 and 2.


  • 1997