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Prev Med. 2010 Jan;50 Suppl 1:S24-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.08.017. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Perceived social and physical environmental correlates of physical activity in older adolescents and the moderating effect of self-efficacy.

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  • 1Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Human Biometrics and Biomechanics, Brussel, Belgium.



To determine if perceptions of the social and physical environment are associated with active transport and leisure-time sports among Belgian youth and to investigate if this relationship is moderated by self-efficacy.


In February-May 2008, 1445 adolescents (17.4+/-0.6 yrs) were recruited in 20 randomly selected Belgian schools. Physical activity, psychosocial, and environmental factors were assessed using validated questionnaires. Moderated multilevel regression analysis was used to examine the association between physical activity and possible correlates.


Social environmental variables (modeling and social support) were positively associated with active transportation and leisure-time sports (p<0.05). Higher land use mix diversity, higher street connectivity, more attractive environments, better access to recreational facilities, and higher emotional satisfaction with the neighborhood were associated with more active transportation (p<0.05). Higher perceived safety from traffic, better access to recreational facilities, more physical activity equipment at home, and fewer electronic devices in the bedroom were associated with more leisure-time sports (p<0.05). Lower perceived safety and poorer access to (recreational) facilities were only associated with lower active transport among youth with lower self-efficacy (p<0.05).


Creating more supportive environments could have the potential to affect the physical activity levels of Belgian adolescents with both high and low self-efficacy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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