Research Study Abstract

Sociogeographic Variation of Objective Physical Activity Measures Among Portuguese Male Adolescents

  • Added on November 16, 2010

Extensive evidence supports the benefits of physical activity on health outcomes. Adolescence is often viewed as an important period of acquisition and maintenance of health behaviours. It is also assumed that physical activity habits do not occur in a social vacuum. This study examines the sociogeographic variation in a sample of male adolescents. The sample is composed of 132 subjects raging from 13 to 16 years of age. Somatic characteristics included weight, stature, sum of six skinfolds and waist circumference. Physical activity was assessed using an accelerometer (Actigraph, model 7164) during five consecutive days assuming a minimum amount of 10 hours of valid data per day [criterion for inclusion]. After presenting descriptive statistics, the hypothesis of sociogeographic variation [urban versus rural] was tested using ANCOVA [chronological age as covariate] on physical activity variables. A significance level of 5% was assumed Urban and rural boys seemed to have similar mean values on body size [weight and stature], adiposity and waist circumference. Comparisons between groups showed urban adolescents as significantly more active during the weekend days [urban: 477 counts/min, rural: 393 counts/min, F=5.450, p<0.05]. While analysing the moderate, vigorous and very vigorous portion of physical activity, the urban group also tend to be more active in the five consecutive days [urban: 83 minutes/day, rural: 79 minutes/day], although differences were only significant for the weekend [urban: 67 minutes/day, rural: 53 minutes/day, F=5.086, p<0.05]. In summary, urban boys seemed to account more physical activity per day, specially during the weekends and due to vigorous portion of physical activity. Research about the specific context of physical activity and its vigorous portion is lacking. It would also be of interest to replicate the present study in girls.