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Prev Med. 2011 Feb;52(2):114-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.12.002. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Perception of the social and built environment and physical activity among Northeastern Brazil adolescents.

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  • 1Universidade Federal da Paraíba-UFPB/CCS/DEF, Departamento de Educação Física, João Pessoa, PB, Brazil.



To evaluate the association between levels of physical activity and perception of the social and built environmental in adolescents from Northeastern Brazil.


The sample comprised 2874 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years (57.8% females) enrolled in private or public secondary schools in the municipality of João Pessoa, Northeastern Brazil. Level of physical activity was measured by questionnaire. Perception of environmental characteristics was measured by means of fifteen questions rated on four-point Likert-type scales ranging from 1 ("strongly disagree") to 4 ("strongly agree"). The association between physical activity and perception of environmental characteristics was investigated using multivariate binary logistic regression.


Multivariate analysis showed that adolescents living in neighborhoods where other adolescents were physically active (68.7% vs. 60.1%, OR=1.20; 95%CI: 1.05-1.56, among boys only) or who lived close to places they liked to frequent (71.8% vs. 53.4%, OR=1.96; 95%CI: 1.40-2.78 among boys; and 42.0% vs. 32.3% OR=1.33; 95%CI: 1.10-1.74 among girls) were more likely to be physically active.


Adolescents with positive perceptions of certain environmental characteristics were more likely to be physically active. Environmental characteristics may relate differently to levels of physical activity among boys and girls.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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