Correlates of physical activity in a national sample of girls and boys in grades 4 through 12

Health Psychol. 1999 Jul;18(4):410-5. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.18.4.410.


Psychological, biological, social, and physical environmental variables were examined for their association with physical activity of young people. A national sample of 1,504 parents and children in Grades 4-12 were interviewed by telephone. Twenty-two potential determinants were assessed along with an 11-item child physical activity index (alpha = .76). Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted separately for 6 age-sex subgroups. Percentage of variance explained ranged from 18% for boys in Grades 4-6 to 59% for girls in Grades 10-12. Three variables had strong and consistent associations with the child physical activity index that generalized across subgroups: use of afternoon time for sports and physical activity, enjoyment of physical education, and family support for physical activity. These 3 variables should be targeted for change to promote physical activity in all groups of young people.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Physical Fitness / psychology*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors