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Physical Activity Among Adolescents With Long-Term Illnesses or Disabilities in 15 European Countries

Kwok Ng, Jorma Tynjälä, Dagmar Sigmundová, Lilly Augustine, Mariane Sentenac, Pauli Rintala, and Jo Inchley

Physical activity (PA) is an important health-promoting behavior from which adolescents with long-term illnesses or disabilities (LTID) can benefit. It is important to monitor differences across countries in adherence with PA recommendations for health. The aim of this study was to compare PA levels among 15 European countries after disaggregating data by disability. Data from pupils (mean age = 13.6 years, SD = 1.64) participating in the 2013/2014 Health Behavior in School-aged Children study were analyzed to compare adolescents without LTID, with LTID, and with LTID that affects their participation (affected LTID). Logistic regression models adjusted for age and family affluence, stratified by gender and country group with PA recommendations for health as the outcome variable. With the data pooled, 15% (n = 9,372) of adolescents reported having LTID and 4% (n = 2,566) having affected LTID. Overall, fewer boys with LTID met PA recommendations for health than boys without LTID, although it was not statistically significant either at the national levels or for girls.