This study aims to analyse the association between perceived presence of public spaces near residences and practice of physical activity during leisure time by adults in the state capitals of Brazil, based on sociodemographic characteristics. Participants were individuals aged ≥18 years living in the 27 state capitals of Brazil (n =52 929, 53.9% female) who responded to a national survey called VIGITEL in 2013. Physical activity during leisure time (≥1 time/week), perception of space, population and sociodemographic variables (sex, age, years of study and geographic region) were self-reported. The adjusted binary logistic regression analysis was used. Among adults, the prevalence of physical activity during leisure was 45.1% (95% CI [44.2; 46.0]), and 71.1% (95% CI [70.2, 71.8]) perceived public space near their residence. A direct association between perceiving public space and physical activity ([OR] = 1.43; 95% CI [1.32; 1.55]) was observed. No significant difference was observed in the population groups (men and women, younger and older adults, and those with more and fewer years of study). Thus, even with the possible regional differences in Brazilian state capitals, the presence of public spaces increases the practice of physical activity during leisure time, independent of sociodemographic variables.

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