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Factors related to physical activity: a study of adolescents

By Runar Vilhjalmsson and Thorolfur Thorlindsson

Abstract

Although the consequences of physical activity have been carefully documented, less is known about its correlates, particularly among children and youth. Based on a representative national survey of 1131 Icelandic adolescents, the study examined various physical, psychological, social and demographic factors related to physical activity. Male sex, significant others' involvement in physical activity (father, friend and older brother), sociability, perceived importance of sport and of health improvement and satisfaction with mandatory gym classes in school, were all related to more involvement, whereas hours of paid work and TV-viewing were related to less. Furthermore, the data suggested that the influence of friend's participation in physical activity depends on his or her emotional significance. Influential others appeared to affect males and females in the same way. The meaning of the results and their implications for future research are discussed.sport exercise socialisation attitudes life-style Iceland

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