Correlation between physical activity and sedentary behavior with healthy and unhealthy behaviors in Italy and Tuscan region: a cross sectional study

J Prev Med Hyg. 2013 Mar;54(1):41-8.


Introduction: Regular physical activity (PA) has associated with various positive health aspects such as a decreased risk of chronic or generic illnesses, furthermore, a sedentary lifestyle has been associated with health problems such as obesity. To examine the relationship between patterns of PA, screen-based media use (SBM) and social health indicators within a specific demographic group and highlight the regional vs. national differences in these relationships.

Methods: The data is drawn from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) database, a national cross-sectional survey in a representative sample (N = 3920) of students aged 11-13-15 years and compared to those of the Tuscan region (N = 3381). Variables considered other than PA and SBM use includes positive health indicators such as physical health status, quality of family and peer relationships, fruit consumption, breakfast consumption as well as negative health indicators, such as health complaints, smoking and alcohol use.

Results: Some positive health indicators showed a positive correlation with PA. Students adopting healthy behaviours often met the Physical Activity Guide Line (PAGL). On the contrary, negative health indicators were associated with PAGL in a negative way. In general SBM was positively related to several of the negative health indicators and vice versa. SBM was related in a positive fashion to tobacco use that represents a protective factor.

Discussion: The results show that met PAGL is associated with positive health indicators and that high levels of SBM use is associated with negative health indicators. The study also emphasizes the relationship between PA, SBM use and socialfactors. Increasing PA and decreasing SBM use should be an aim in general health behaviour promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Sedentary Behavior*