Childhood and Contemporaneous Correlates of Adolescent Leisure Time Physical Inactivity: A Longitudinal Study

  • Richards R
  • Poulton R
  • Reeder A
 et al. 
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Purpose: Although concurrent influences on adolescent physical activity are well documented, longitudinal studies offer additional insights about early life antecedents of participation. The aim of this study was to examine associations between childhood and contemporaneous factors and patterns of physical activity participation during adolescence. Methods: Physical activity participation at ages 15 and 18 was assessed among members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study cohort using the interview-based Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between childhood factors (socioeconomic status, family "active-recreation" orientation, home activities, motor ability, intelligence, and psychiatric disorder), contemporaneous factors (parental health, body mass index, predicted VO2 max, general health, television viewing, smoking, and alcohol use) and "persistent inactivity," "declining participation," or "persistent activity" during adolescence. Results: In multivariate models, persistent inactivity during adolescence was associated with lower childhood family active-recreation orientation, and poorer cardiorespiratory fitness and general health during adolescence. Declining participation was more likely among those who reported fewer activities at home during childhood. Persistent activity was associated with better cardiorespiratory fitness and watching less television during adolescence. Conclusions: This study found that childhood and contemporaneous factors were associated with persistent inactivity, persistent activity and declining participation during adolescence. The findings highlight several factors from the family and home environment of potential importance in early intervention programs to support adolescent participation in physical activity. © 2009 Society for Adolescent Medicine.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Child
  • Physical activity
  • Prospective studies

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  • Rosalina Richards

  • Richie Poulton

  • Anthony I. Reeder

  • Sheila Williams

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