Physical Activity Trends of Finnish Adolescents With Long-Term Illnesses or Disabilities From 2002–2014

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Adolescents’ physical activity level is a major source of concern. For adolescents with long-term illnesses or disabilities (LTID), being physically active can prevent secondary conditions. This is one of the first studies reporting trends in physical activity of adolescents with LTID in relation to gender, age, and sports club membership.


Data were collected from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study in Finland during 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. In 13- and 15-year-olds (N = 2206), 17.1% reported having LTID. Daily physical activity recall was the dependent variable. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted eparately for sports club members (n = 936) and nonmembers (n = 1270).


The proportion of physically active adolescents with LTID in 2014 was higher than in 2002 for girls (15.6% vs 8.7%) and boys (26.6% vs 13.0%). Girl sports club members were 2 times more likely to be physically active in 2014 than in 2002. The largest trend between 2014 and 2002 was among boy nonmembers (odds ratio: 4.62, 95% confidence interval, 2.02–10.58).


More adolescents with LTID took part in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in 2014 than in 2002; however, physical activity levels still remain low. Sports club membership was similar to that of the general population.

Ng and Rintala are with the Dept of Sport Sciences; Tynjälä, Välimaa, Villberg, Kokko, and Kannas are with the Dept of Health Sciences; University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Ng ( is corresponding author.