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Prev Med. 2001 Jun;32(6):455-64.

Factors associated with physical activity among Spanish youth through the National Health Survey.

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Departamento de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Arzobispo Morcillo 4, Madrid, 28029, Spain



Physical inactivity is emerging as one of the largest public health problems throughout Europe. This study updates descriptive data on physical activity and the factors associated with it among the 6- to 15-year-old Spanish population during leisure time through the National Health Survey.


This is a cross-sectional study from a representative sample of Spanish children's physical activity during their leisure time. Sample size was 1,358 children between the ages of 6 and 15 years. Univariate analyses were carried out first, and then significant variables were entered into a logistical regression nonconditional model.


Less than 30% of children were active and the percentage of active boys was higher than that of active girls in all age categories. From the age of 11 the percentage of total active children was stabilized. Children from the two highest social statuses (SS) were significantly more active than children from the lowest SS group. Children from large towns were more active than children from small towns. Active children reported eating more meat or fish than the less active ones.


The results suggest that characteristics of age, sex, town size, and social status should be considered when designing physical activity strategies for Spanish children.

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