Adolescent Correlates of Adult Physical Activity: A 26-year Follow-Up

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Nov;36(11):1930-6. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000145536.87255.3a.


Purpose: It is hypothesized that adolescent physical activity, fitness, anthropometric dimensions, fatness, biological maturity, and family characteristics contribute to the variation in physical activity at 40 yr of age, and that these associations vary with age.

Methods: Subjects were 166 males followed from 1969 to 1996, between the ages of 14 and 40 yr from the Leuven Longitudinal Study on Lifestyle, Fitness and Health. Sports participation, fitness, anthropometric dimensions, fatness, and biological maturity were observed during the growth period. Also, sociocultural characteristics of the family were examined. The work, leisure time, and sport activity index of the Baecke Questionnaire and activity counts of a triaxial accelerometer were used as outcome variables at 40 yr.

Results: When upper and lower activity groups (quintiles) at 40 yr were contrasted, moderate associations were found (R2c varied between 0.1419 and 0.3736). No or low associations were found with the leisure time index. Body dimensions, fitness scores, sports practice, and family characteristics contributed to the explained variance in work, sport index, and activity counts. Multiple correlations were low (R2 = 0.037-0.085) for the work and leisure time activities, and were somewhat higher (R2 = 0.06-0.156) for the sport index and the activity counts in the total sample.

Conclusion: Adolescent somatic dimensions, fitness, sports participation, parental sociocultural characteristics, and sport participation contributed to a small-to-moderate extent to the contrast between high and low active adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Body Composition
  • Body Size
  • Family Characteristics
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data