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Health Place. 2009 Jun;15(2):548-52. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Sep 20.

Perceptions of the built environment in relation to physical activity in Portuguese adolescents.

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  • 1Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Rua Dr. Pl├ícido Costa, 91 4200-450 Porto, Portugal.


In this study, we investigated the association between perceptions of the built environment and physical activity among Portuguese boys and girls. Participants were 1124 adolescents (592 girls and 532 boys) 12- to 18-years-old. Physical activity and perceptions of environmental characteristics were assessed by self-report questionnaires. Significantly more girls (p<0.01) were classified as low-active (61.5%) compared to boys (22.9%). Logistic regression analyses (adjusted for age) showed a significant association between girl's physical activity and availability of free- or low-cost recreational facilities in the neighbourhood (OR=1.44; 95% CI 0.99-2.11). Among boys, the presence of people being active in the neighbourhood was associated with higher levels of physical activity (OR=1.59; 95% CI 1.05-2.40). Perceptions of some aspects of neighbourhood environment may relate differently to participation in physical activity for boys compared to girls.

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