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Adolescents’ physical activity trends over the years: a three-cohort study based on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Portuguese survey
  1. Adilson Marques1,2,
  2. Margarida Gaspar de Matos2,3
  1. 1Projeto Aventura Social, Lisboa, Portugal
  2. 2Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudo da Performance Humana, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  3. 3Centro de Malária e Outras Doenças Tropicais (CMDT), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adilson Marques; amarques{at}


Objective Many young people do not practise enough physical activity (PA) to benefit their health. The three-cohort study aimed to investigate the prevalence of PA and understand the trends between 2002 and 2010, using a representative sample of Portuguese adolescents.

Design, setting and participants The participants were 8483 adolescents (4067 boys, 4416 girls) who participated in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Portuguese survey in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Design, setting and participants A questionnaire was used to collect data of PA. Analyses were run separately for boys and girls.

Results Boys aged 15–17 reported practising 3.5±1.9 times a week in 2002, 3.9±1.9 times a week in 2006 and 3.8±1.9 times a week in 2010, with a significant increase from 2002 to 2006/2010 (p<0.05). PA practice during the past 7 days decreased from 4.2±2.1 to 3.9+1.9 between 2002 and 2006 (p<0.001) and also decreased from 4.4±2.1 to 3.8±1.9 between 2006 and 2010 (p<0.001). Among girls, PA practices during the past 7 days declined significantly from 3.5±1.9 to 2.7±1.7 between 2002 and 2006 (p<0.001), and from 3.3±1.9 to 2.9±1.7 between 2006 and 2010 (p<0.001).

Conclusions The study points to age as a factor related to diminished PA participation. The study also revealed that the prevalence of PA has decreased over the years for the same age groups.


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