Is adolescent´s perceived activity-friendly environment associated with more physical activity and fewer screen-based activities?

  • J. Kopcakova
  • Z. Dankulincova Veselska
  • A. Madarasova Geckova
  • J. Bucksch
  • H. Nalecz
  • D. Sigmundova
  • J.P. van Dijk
  • S.A. Reijneveld


Objectives: An environment perceived as activity-friendly may affect physical activity and screen-based activities in both, positive and negative way, but the mechanisms are not clear. The aim of this study is to explore if perception of activity-friendly environment is associated with more physical activity and less screen-based activities among adolescents. Methods: We collected self-reported data in 2014 within the cross-sectional study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany (n=13,800, mean age =14.4, 49.4% boys). We explored the association between perceived environment (e.g. “There are other children nearby home to go out and play with.”; “There are playgrounds or parks close to my home where I can play.”; “It is safe to walk or play alone in my neighbourhood during the day.”) with physical activity and screen-based activities using a binary logistic regression model adjusted for age, gender, family affluence and country. Results: We found that a perception of the environment as more activity-friendly was significantly associated with a higher probability that adolescents meet the recommendations for physical activity in the four European countries. Furthermore, we found this perception associated with a lower probability of adolescent’s excessive screen-based activities in these countries. Conclusions: Perceived environment is associated with adolescents’ physical activity and screen-based behaviour. Investments in an activity-friendly environment might help to promote an active life style in adolescence.
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