Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors among Finnish Youth

Department of Public Health Science and General Practice, University of Oulu, Uleoborg, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 07/2007; 39(7):1067-74. DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b13e318058a603
Source: PubMed


There is general concern about the low level of physical activity and the high amount of time devoted to sedentary behavior among adolescents. This study aimed to determine the proportion of young Finns meeting the current guidelines for youth physical activity (>or= 60 min of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per day) and TV viewing (< 2 h.d(-1)) and to examine associations between physical activity and different sedentary behaviors.
The study population consisted of 6928 boys and girls, members of the northern Finland birth cohort 1986 who, in 2001-2002, at age 15-16 yr, responded to a mailed questionnaire inquiring about their time spent in moderate to vigorous (MVPA), light (LPA), and commuting (CPA) physical activity, and different sedentary behaviors.
Fifty-nine percent of the boys and 50% of the girls reported 60 min or more of total physical activity per day. Only 23% of boys and 10% of girls reported 60 min of MVPA per day. Forty-eight percent of boys and 44% of girls reported more than 2 h of daily TV viewing. High amounts of TV viewing and computer use were associated with lower levels of physical activity in both genders.
Many adolescents exceeded the recommended level of TV viewing and did not meet current recommendations for health-related physical activity. The inverse associations of physical activity with TV viewing and computer use suggest that measures aimed to reduce sedentary behaviors may, at least partly, increase physical activity among youth.

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    • "These unhealthy behaviors were only included as we did not have follow-up data of other factors. Given the previous findings of gender-related differences in engagement in these factors in the study population of the present work [7,36] and in other populations (e.g. [19]), boys and girls were analyzed separately. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Adolescent’psychosocial problems associate with unhealthy behaviors, but data on co-occurring patterns is sparse. We investigated 1) whether adolescents could be categorized into meaningful subgroups with respect to psychosocial and lifestyle factors, 2) whether the prevalence of physical inactivity, overweight and smoking vary within the subgroups and 3) whether these unhealthy behaviors persist in a two-year follow-up. Methods The study was based on a subgroup of the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort, which consisted of adolescents who replied to a postal questionnaire at 16 years (n = 6792) and a subgroup of this sample at 18 years (n = 1552). Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed to establish clusters at 16 years. Results Smoking co-existed with emotional and behavioral problems in both genders. Boys with the most inactive lifestyle slept poorly, whereas multiple problems co-occurred among girls. Those with a high body mass index (BMI) separated as groups of their own. Different combinations of adverse lifestyle and emotional and behavioral problems were relatively common in both sexes as only 51% of boys and 67% of girls belonged to the reference cluster with low probability for these findings. Physical inactivity, high BMI and smoking tended to persist over the two-year follow-up. Conclusions It seems that lifestyle and psychosocial factors divide adolescents into distinct subgroups in which unhealthy lifestyle patterns remain between the ages of 16 and 18. This may indicate problems in other life areas and expose them to an increased risk of future health problems.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "To evaluate the amount of physical activity outside school hours separately for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and light physical activity (LPA), the questionnaire asked: 'How many hours a week do you participate in (a) brisk (defined as physical activity causing at least some sweating and breathlessness) and (b) light (causing no sweating or shortage of breath) physical activity outside school hours?'; the first referring to MVPA and the latter to LPA (Tammelin et al., 2007). Daily commuting physical activity (CPA) time (walking, cycling and otherwise physically moving to and from school) was also elicited. "
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of musculoskeletal (MS) pain has been increasing among adolescents in the last decades. This may be related to either adverse changes in lifestyle and/or the psychosocial environment. Our study analysed the psychosocial and lifestyle correlates of musculoskeletal pain progression in adolescence. The study was based on the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort and included 1773 adolescents at the ages of 16 to 18. Latent class analysis was applied to find the homogeneous profiles of MS pains in four body areas (neck, shoulder, low back and limb). We analysed the associations between time spent in sedentary activities and sleeping, physical activity level, body mass index, alcohol consumption, smoking, and emotional and behavioural factors at 16 years, and belonging to pain clusters at 16 and 18 years. We found an association between a higher probability of MS pains between 16 and 18 years and increasing emotional and behavioural problems in both genders. Among boys, a high likelihood of MS pains during follow-up was also associated with a long time spent sitting and insufficient sleeping time. Among girls, alcohol consumption associated with high pain probability. MS pains already co-occur to a large extent in their early course. The strong overlap of emotional and behavioural problems and MS pains in adolescence requires awareness in both research and clinical work.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · European journal of pain (London, England)
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    • "An increasing amount of time spent in sedentary activities was found to reduce PA [14]. On the other hand, there is evidence that sedentary activities are not automatically a barrier for children to engage in the recommended amounts of PA [15]. Physical activity has been associated consistently with better psychological health, especially higher levels of self-efficacy [16,17] and findings from socio ecological studies have shown a positive relationship between environmental factors, such as family [18] or school support [19], and PA. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Physical inactivity among children is an increasing problem that adversely affects children’s health. A better understanding of factors which affect physical activity (PA) will help create effective interventions aimed at raising the activity levels of children. This cross-sectional study examined the associations of PA with individual (biological, social, behavioral, psychological) and environmental (East vs. West Germany, rural vs. urban regions) characteristics in children. Methods Information on PA and potential correlates was collected from 1843 girls and 1997 boys using questionnaires during the 10-year follow-up of two prospective birth cohort studies (GINIplus and LISAplus). Study regions represent urban and rural sites as well as East and West of Germany. Logistic regression modeling was applied to examine cross-sectional associations between individual as well as environmental factors and PA levels. Results Five of fourteen variables were significantly associated with PA. Among children aged 10, girls tended to be less active than boys, especially with respect to vigorous PA (OR = 0.72 for summer). Children who were not a member of a sports club showed a substantially reduced amount of PA in winter (OR = 0.15). Rural environments promote moderate PA, particularly in winter (OR = 1.88), whereas an increased time outdoors primarily promotes moderate PA in summer (OR = 12.41). Children with abnormal emotional symptoms exhibited reduced physical activity, particularly in winter (OR = 0.60). BMI, puberty, parental BMI, parental education, household income, siblings, TV/PC consumption, and method of arriving school, were not associated with PA. Conclusions When considering correlates of PA from several domains simultaneously, only few factors (sex, sports club membership, physical environment, time outdoors, and emotional symptoms) appear to be relevant. Although the causality needs to be ascertained in longitudinal studies, variables which cannot be modified should be used to identify risk groups while modifiable variables, such as sports club activities, may be addressed in intervention programs.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · BMC Public Health
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