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Stuart J.H. Biddle, Sarah H. Whitehead, Toni M. O’Donovan and Mary E. Nevill

Background:

Many adolescent girls have low levels of physical activity and participation declines with age. This review identifies recent correlates of physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

Systematic review of papers published 1999 to mid-2003. Papers (k = 51) reporting a measure of physical activity and at least one potential correlate of physical activity in adolescent girls were analyzed.

Results:

Demographics related to physical activity were female gender (–), non-white ethnicity (–), age (–), and socio-economic status (+). Psychological correlates positively associated with physical activity were enjoyment, perceived competence, self-efficacy, and physical self-perceptions. Behavioral correlates showed that smoking was associated with lower and organized sport involvement with greater activity. Physical activity was associated with parental and family support but we found no consistent trends for environmental variables. Effects were small-to-moderate.

Conclusions:

Modifiable correlates for adolescent girls clustered around “positive psychology,” organized sport involvement, and the family.

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Sarah H. Whitehead, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Toni M. O’Donovan and Mary E. Nevill

Few studies have addressed factors influencing Scottish adolescent girls’ participation in physical activity (PA). Participants (N = 352) aged 11 to 16 years completed surveys measuring PA participation and potential social-psychological and physical-environmental correlates. Data were analyzed separately by two age groups (11-13 and 14-16 years). For younger girls, mother’s participation, perceived importance, and home equipment use were higher among those higher in PA. For older girls, perceived importance, home equipment use, neighborhood perceptions, and use and enjoyment of local facilities were higher among girls higher in PA. It seems that older girls place less importance on significant others and move toward autonomy away from the home.