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Bonny Yee-Man Wong, Sai-Yin Ho, Wing-Sze Lo, Ester Cerin, Kwok-Kei Mak and Tai-Hing Lam

Background:

Little is known about the longitudinal relations of environment attributes and leisure-time physical activity (PA) in adolescents, and the moderating effects of individual characteristics. This study examined the longitudinal association of the perceived availability of neighborhood sport facilities with leisure-time PA, and the potential moderating effects of age, past PA behavior, and weight status in adolescents.

Methods:

Among 20,933 follow-up subjects (60.9% of 34,369 baseline subjects), 9993 from 32 Hong Kong secondary schools were successfully matched with baseline (mean duration 16 months; SD 1.7) and had complete information. At baseline and follow-up, respondents reported their leisure-time PA, weight, height, and the presence of sport facilities in the neighborhood.

Results:

Increased perceived availability of sport facilities from baseline to follow-up predicted more leisure-time PA at follow-up (β = 1.029; 95% CI: 1.011–1.047) overall. This effect was modified by baseline PA, with a significant effect observed only among those who had engaged in leisure-time PA more than 3 times a week.

Conclusions:

Increasing awareness of neighborhood sport facilities or building more such facilities may help active adolescents maintain or increase their leisure-time PA. However, more comprehensive multilevel interventions that aim at enhancing potential social, personal, and environmental PA-related factors may be needed to motivate inactive adolescents.