The Association Between the Type, Context, and Levels of Physical Activity Amongst Adolescents

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Little is known about how the type and context of physical activity behaviors varies among adolescents with differing activity levels. The aim of this study was to assess differences in the type and context of physical activity behaviors in adolescents by level of objectively measured physical activity.


Cross-sectional analysis of 2728 adolescents (1299 males, 1429 females) participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The mean (SD) age was 13.8 (+0.1) years. Physical activity was measured using an Actigraph over 7 days. Adolescents were categorized into tertiles of activity (less, moderately, highly active) using counts/min and min/d of moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA). Activity type was reported using the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall (PDPAR). Differences in the type and context of activity by activity level were analyzed using Chi squared.


Highly active boys reported more job, outside, and sports activities on school days (P < .05), and more sports activities on nonschool days (P < .05). Highly active girls reported more outside activities on school days (P < .05).


Identifying the type and context of physical activity behaviors associated with more active adolescents, can help inform policy and physical activity interventions aimed at increasing activity levels in adolescents.

Koorts, Mattocks, and Riddoch are with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Ness and Deere are with the Dept of Community Based Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom. Blair and Pate are with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.