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J Phys Act Health. 2019 Apr 1;16(4):281-287. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2018-0092. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Trends and Age-Related Changes of Physical Activity Among Portuguese Adolescent Girls From 2002-2014: Highlights From the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Study.



To examine the trends of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) from 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 in a representative sample of Portuguese adolescent girls and to investigate MVPA changes during adolescence in surveys of each year and by generation.


A nationally representative sample of 6018 girls between 11 and 13 years and 3838 girls between 15 and 17 years was drawn from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children surveys in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. A questionnaire was used to collect data of MVPA. Data were assessed with analysis of variance, t test, chi square, and chi-square test for trend.


The percentage of 11- to 13-year-old girls reporting 60 minutes of daily MVPA was low and stable between 2002 (9.5%) and 2014 (11.1%) (P = .21), such as for girls aged 15-17 years (2002 = 5.6%, 2014 = 5%, P = .81). The percentage of girls reporting 60 minutes MVPA decreased significantly among age groups in all year surveys. A significant decrease in correlation with age across the same generation of adolescents was also found.


This study points out that the prevalence of Portuguese girls meeting the PA guidelines is low, declines with age, and is stable from 2002-2014. Therefore, different strategies to prevent MVPA decline and promote MVPA are needed since childhood.


exercise; gender; health behavior; public health; youth


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