The main goals of this study were: (1) to examine the relationship between physical activity (PA) involvement and other leisure activities in a sample of Portuguese youth and (2) to analyze gender differences in PA and leisure-time activity structure.
The sample comprised 1123 adolescents that were classified according to PA levels as active (n = 589) and nonactive (n = 534). A questionnaire assessing leisure-time activities was used.
Girls were significantly more engaged in social leisure, dutiful, and individual artistic activities during leisure time, whereas boys were more involved in sports and computer and TV viewing activities. Significant associations between PA and social leisure were found in girls (r = .18, P ≤ .001) and boys (r = .13, P ≤ .01) after adjustment for age. The same was found between level of PA and sports engagement during leisure (girls: r = .56, P ≤ .001; boys: r = .51, P ≤ .001). In girls (r = .10, P ≤ .05), but not in boys, a statistically significant association was found between PA and individual artistic activities.
This study has certain implications for health-related PA promotion efforts. Our data give additional reinforcement to the importance of organized and nonorganized sports/PA during leisure time for overall levels of PA in adolescents.