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Eur J Public Health. 2001 Jun;11(2):130-4.

Social influences and low leisure-time physical activity in young Danish adults.

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  • 1Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.



Many youths and adults maintain a sedentary life style and a better understanding of the factors which influence physical activity is needed. This study analyses the association between social factors and low leisure-time physical activity in young adults.


Three hundred and seventeen children aged 6-18 years participated in a health survey in 1979 and again 13 years later. In this cohort the influence of family factors during childhood on the subsequent risk of low leisure-time activity was analysed using multiple logistic regression.


Young women were significantly less physically active during leisure time if over 25 years of age, poorly educated and smokers. In multivariate analysis, childhood smoking was the only variable significantly related to low leisure-time physical activity (OR = 5.6 and 95% CI: 1.4-23.6) in young women. In young men, low leisure-time physical activity was associated with parental work activity. Men whose parents had reported high physical activity during work at the examination in 1976-1978 were less often physically inactive during leisure time (OR = 0.2 and 95% CI: 0.1-0.6) at the follow-up in 1992.


Young smoking girls seem to be a key group in the prevention of both smoking and a sedentary life style.

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