Objectives: This study examined the associations between physical activity and other health behaviors in a representative sample of US adolescents.
Methods: In the 1990 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 11631 high school students provided information on physical activity; diet; substance use; and other negative health behaviors. Logistic regression analyses examined associations between physical activity and other health behaviors in a subset of 2652 high-active and 1641 low-active students.
Results: Low activity was associated with cigarette smoking, marijuana use, lower fruit and vegetable consumption, greater television watching, failure to wear a seat belt, and low perception of academic performance. For consumption of fruit, television watching, and alcohol consumption, significant interactions were found with race/ethnicity or sex, suggesting that sociocultural factors may affect the relationships between physical activity and some health behaviors.
Conclusions: Low physical activity was associated with several other negative health behaviors in teenagers. Future studies should examine whether interventions for increasing physical activity in youth can be effective in reducing negative health behaviors.