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J Sports Sci. 2011 Jun;29(9):989-97. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.578149.

Determinants and patterns of physical activity practice among Spanish university students.

Author information

  • 1Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK. d.romaguera-bosch@imperial.ac.uk


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the socio-demographic and lifestyle determinants of physical activity practice, as well as the motivations for being or not being physically active in Spanish university students. A representative sample of students from a Spanish university (n = 2,051; 42.1% males; mean age 21.9, s = 4.8 years) participated in the present cross-sectional study. A questionnaire including questions regarding lifestyle, dietary habits, parents' characteristics, and physical activity habits was administered to the students. The socio-demographic and lifestyle determinants of physical activity practice were assessed using multivariable logistic regression. 68.4% of men and 48.4% of women reported to practise physical activity in the present sample. Those who practised physical activity consumed more fruits and were less likely to be smokers compared to non-physically active students. Also, physically inactive men spent more time in front of the computer and physically inactive women spent more time in front of the TV and were more likely to be frequent alcohol consumers. Maternal educational level and maternal physical activity habits were also important determinants of physical activity practice among men and women respectively. In conclusion, physically active students tended to engage in other healthy habits in the present population, suggesting the clustering of healthy or unhealthy lifestyle factors among specific subgroups.

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