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Marko T. Kantomaa, Tuija Tammelin, Hanna Ebeling, Emmanuel Stamatakis, and Anja Taanila

Background:

Adolescent self-rated health is a strong predictor of future illness. In this study we investigated whether physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with self-rated health among adolescents aged 16 years.

Methods:

The study sample comprised 7,063 adolescents from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (NFBC 1986) who responded to a postal questionnaire in 2001 to 2002. Self-rated health was measured by a single-item question, while physical activity was evaluated by a set of questions concerning the intensity and volume of physical activity outside school hours. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured with a submaximal cycle ergometer test. Odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for good self-rated health were obtained from multinomial logistic regression.

Results:

High levels of physical activity (boys: OR 5.50, 95% CI 3.16 to 9.58; girls: OR 4.25, 95% CI 2.37 to 7.61) and cardiorespiratory fitness (boys: OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.05 to 3.24; girls: OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.47 to 4.66) were associated with very good self-rated health in adolescents.

Conclusions:

High levels of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are positively associated with adolescents’ self-rated health. Public health promotion activities that foster physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness may benefit young people’s overall health and well-being.

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Kasper Salin, Anna Kankaanpää, Xiaolin Yang, Tuija H. Tammelin, Costan G. Magnussen, Risto Telama, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Jorma S.A. Viikari, Olli T. Raitakari, and Mirja Hirvensalo

Background: To examine if major life changes over a 4-year period among 34- to 49-year-old adults (mean = 41.8, SD = 5.0) were associated with a change in physical activity in men (37.7%) and women (62.3%). Methods: Daily steps and aerobic steps (steps that lasted for at least 10 min without interruption at a pace of >60 steps/min) were collected from 1051 participants in 2007 and 2011. Changes in marital status, work status, and residence and the birth of a child were determined from both time points. A latent change score model was used to examine mean changes in daily total steps, aerobic steps, and nonaerobic steps (total steps minus aerobic steps). Results: Women who had a first child in the 4-year period had a decrease in their nonaerobic steps (P = .001). Men who divorced in the 4-year period had a decrease in their nonaerobic steps (P = .020), whereas women who recoupled decreased their total steps (P = .030). Conclusions: Counseling for parents having a first child on how to increase physical activity in their everyday life could potentially have an influence on an individual’s physical activity.