The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between physical activity from 11 to 15 years of age and pulmonary function (PF) gain from 15 to 18 years of age among adolescents in a birth cohort in Brazil.


Longitudinal analysis of the individuals participating in the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study. Physical activity was assessed by self-report at ages 11 and 15, spirometry was performed at ages 15 and 18 (n = 3571). Outcome variables assessed were gains in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Crude and adjusted linear regressions, stratified by sex, and mediation analyses were performed.


Boys who were active (leisure-time and total physical activity) at ages 11 and 15 had higher gains in FEV1, FVC, and PEF than those who were inactive. Vigorous-intensity physical activity in boys was also associated with FEV1 and FVC gains. Mediation analyses showed that height at age 18 accounted for 5% to 75% of the association between physical activity and PF gains. No significant associations were found among girls.


Physical activity in early adolescence is associated with gains in PF by the end of adolescence in boys.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

da Silva, Wehrmeister, Gonçalves, Horta, Hallal, and Menezes are with the Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil. Quanjer is with the Dept of Paediatrics–Pulmonary Diseases, Erasmus Medical Centre, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Pérez-Padilla is with the Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Mexico City, Mexico. Barros is with the Postgraduate Program in Health and Behavior, Catholic University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil.

da Silva ( is corresponding author.