Prediction of physical activity level in adulthood by physical characteristics, physical performance and physical activity in adolescence: an 11-year follow-up study

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1994;69(6):530-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00239871.


The purpose of the study was to investigate to what extent the physical activity pattern in adulthood can be predicted by physical characteristics, performance and activity in adolescence. A group of 62 men and 43 women completed a questionnaire concerning physical activity during their leisure time at the ages of 16 and 27 years. An activity index produced from the questionnaire. At the age of 16 years, the subjects were also tested for strength (strength test battery) and running performance (9-min run). Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was estimated from a submaximal test and a muscle biopsy specimen was taken and analysed for fibre types (percentages of types I, IIA, IIB). The proportion of subjects engaged in some kind of physical activity during their leisure time was approximately 70% among the women and 80% among the men at both ages. The time spent on physical activity (minutes per week) decreased with age for the men but not for the women. The women devoted less time to physical activity than the men both at age 16 and 27 years. The attitude to endurance activities had changed to a more positive attitude among the women and to a less positive attitude among the men at age 27 years. The aerobic potential (VO2max and percentage of type I fibre), running performance, strength performance, physical activity and marks in physical education at age 16 years explained 82% of the physical activity level in adulthood for the women and 47% for the men.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires