AIM:To identify attitudes and practices in the Spanish population regarding physical activity, and to compare the situation in Spain with that of other member stages of the European Union (EU). DESIGN:Descriptive, cross-sectional study. SETTING:European Union (representative samples of all 15 member stages). Participants. From each member stage we obtained a representative sample of approximately 1000 subjects older than 15 years. A total of 15 239 individuals were asked to complete a questionnaire on attitudes regarding physical activity, body weight and health. Main measures. We classified participants into 6 possible stades of change toward physical activity, and subsequently regrouped them into static (precontemplation and relapse) and dynamic stages (contemplation, decision, action and maintenance). Multivariate analysis with unconditional logistic regression was used to determine which sociodemographic variables were related with static stages. RESULTS:Static stages of change were more prevalent in Spain than in the rest of the EU. Spanish participants of both sexes who had received primary education, were married, were smokers or were obese were more likely to be in a static stage with regard to physical activity. CONCLUSIONS:The proportion of Spaniards with a poor attitude toward changing their level of physical activity was higher than in the rest of the EU, and Spanish citizens were less perseverant in achieving positive changes.