Do Students Know the Physical Activity Recommendations for Health Promotion?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Knowledge is required for people to make health decisions. It can be conjectured that knowledge of physical activity recommended levels can be a step to behavior change. This study examined the knowledge of physical activity guidelines of adolescents who were completing the secondary school.

Methods:

A survey was conducted with 2718 students (1613 girls), aged 16 to 18 years (Mean = 17.2 ± 0.2 years). Gender and age were self-reported and socioeconomic status was calculated based on parental occupation. Students were asked about frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity to achieve the recommended level. Chi-square was applied to the results.

Results:

16.2% reported that physical activity should be practiced daily. For the duration component of the recommendation, 43.5% identified correctly that the minimum recommended is 60 min/day. The intensity component was correctly answered by 62.7%. Considering all the components of the recommendation, only 3.6% of the students were able to identify correctly the physical activity recommendation, with no differences between genders or among socioeconomic status.

Conclusions:

These results highlight the need for an effective communication strategy for disseminating the message to ensure that young people are aware of, and understand the physical activity guidelines.

Marques (amarques@fmh.ulisboa.pt) and da Costa are with the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal; da Costa is also with the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, Lisbon, Portugal. Martins is with the Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal; and the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, Lisbon, Portugal. Sarmento is with the Maia Institute of Higher Education, Maia, Portugal; and the Superior School of Education, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Viseu, Portugal. Rocha is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, Lisbon, Portugal.