Physical activity, health, body mass index, sleeping habits and body complaints in Australian senior high school students

Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden.
International journal of adolescent medicine and health 10/2008; 20(4):501-12. DOI: 10.1515/IJAMH.2008.20.4.501
Source: PubMed


Adolescents in the industrial world are becoming less physically active and are increasingly adopting a sedentary life-style in front of computers and television screens.
to determine self-related health, physical activity, sleeping habits, prevalence of overweight, and body complaints in Australian senior high school students.
Participants were 466 high school students aged 15-17 years enrolled in academic and vocational programs. A questionnaire was completed at two senior high schools with questions about weight and height, health, physical activity, type of physical activity/sport, intensity, sleeping habits, and possible injuries or complaints during the last three months.
Seventy seven percent of the high school students participated in sports on a regular basis. Compared with vocational programs, more males and females in academic programs participated in sports (71% and 80% respectively) (p = .036). Males reported significantly better health than females (p < .0001). 65% of the study group reported body complaints during the last 3 months. A higher number of females than males reported complaints about the back (p = .007) and the hip (p = .05). Good sleep was reported in 82.1% of males and in 76.6% of females. In males, 44.3% were often sleepy in the daytime (females 56.6%, p < .01).
Underweight, physical activity and good sleep are factors with significant positive effect on good health, whereas overweight is a negative factor. Proper sleep habits and higher physical activity levels should be promoted among high school students, and TV viewing time and video game use restricted. Additionally, schools should provide opportunities for young people to participate in a wider range of physical activities that address their individual needs while promoting the health benefits of engaging in regular exercise.

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