Development of physical activity behaviors among children and adolescents

Pediatrics. 1998 Mar;101(3 Pt 2):549-54.


Physical activity is a key component of energy balance and is promoted in children and adolescents as a lifelong positive health behavior. Understanding the potential behavioral determinants necessitates understanding influences from three fundamental areas: 1) physiologic and developmental factors, 2) environmental factors, and 3) psychological, social, and demographic factors. The literature to date has generally investigated potential predictors of physical activity in children and adolescents in each of these three general areas, although existing data rely largely on cross-sectional studies in which it is difficult to distinguish a determinant from a correlate. In all likelihood, aspects of each of these three areas interact in a multidimensional way to influence physical activity in youth. This article reviews evidence of potential determinants of physical activity in children and adolescents and provides recommendations for future work.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Probability
  • Social Environment