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J Adolesc Health. 2018 Oct;63(4):466-473. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.05.023. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

Longitudinal Associations of Physical Activity Among Females from Adolescence to Young Adulthood.

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Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, California. Electronic address:
RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California.
Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, California.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.



We sought to identify individual, social, and environmental factors associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among females from ages 14 to 23years.


A cohort was formed from females originally participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls Maryland site. The cohort was recruited from a randomly generated list of eighth grade girls in participating middle schools. A total of 428 females had complete assessments in 2006 (n = 730), 2009 (n = 589), and 2015 (n = 460). The outcome, MVPA, was assessed from accelerometers. Individual and social factors were assessed by questionnaire; body mass index was measured in 2006 and 2009 and self-reported in 2015. Perceived environment was assessed by questionnaire; number of parks near home and distance to parks and schools was assessed by geographic information systems.


Participants were diverse (45.7% white, 24.8% black, 9.9% Hispanic, and 19.6% other). Over time 274 participants had continuously low MVPA, 123 decreased MVPA from age 17 to 23years, and 31 participants continuously increased MVPA. For each .16-unit decrease in body mass index, MVPA increased 1 minute over time (p = .007). For every 1-unit increase in self-management strategies or social support from friends, there was a 4- to 5-minute increase in MVPA (p < .0001 and p = .03, respectively). A little less than one extra park (.71 parks) within a mile of an individual's home was associated with a 1-minute increase in MVPA (p < .0001).


Behavioral strategies combined with neighborhood enhancements may produce the best results for increasing MVPA as adolescent females' transition into adulthood.


Adolescence; Females; Multilevel; Physical activity; Young adults

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