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A favorable built environment is associated with better physical fitness in European adolescents.
- Published on December 2013
Objective To assess the association between the built environment and physical fitness and physical activity in adolescents.
Methods The study included 3528 adolescents, aged 12.5-17.5years, who participated in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study. The health-related physical fitness components were assessed using the physical fitness tests. Participants wore a uniaxial accelerometer (ActiGraph®) for 7days to measure physical activity. A specific questionnaire addressing the built environment was used. Potential confounding factors including age, gender, body mass index, body composition, pubertal status, smoking, educational level of parents, and socioeconomic status were analyzed using backward stepwise linear regression analysis.
Results Heavy traffic in the neighborhood was the strongest factor negatively associated with both physical fitness and physical activity (both P<0.05). Conversely, a secure bicycling or walking route from home to school was positively associated with various components of physical fitness and physical activity (P<0.01). Outdoor fields and gymnasiums near home were also associated with better physical fitness (P<0.01), but not with physical activity
Conclusions A favorable built environment may contribute to health-related physical fitness and physical activity of adolescents and should be considered in future interventions and health promotion strategies.
- Jérémy Vanhelst 1, 2
- Laurent Béghin 1, 2
- Julia Salleron 3
- Jonatan R. Ruiz 4
- Francisco B. Ortega 4, 6
- Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij 7
- Dénes Molnar 8
- Yannis Manios 9
- Kurt Widhalm 10
- Germán Vicente-Rodriguez 11
- Beatrice Mauro 12
- Luis A. Moreno 11
- Michael Sjöström 4
- Manuel J. Castillo 6
- Frédéric Gottrand 1
CIC-PT-9301-INSERM-CH&U, University Hospital, Lille, France
Department of Biostatistics, University Lille Nord de France, Lille, France
Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
Department of Physical Education and Sport, School of Sport Sciences, Granada University, Granada, Spain
Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, Granada University, Granada, Spain
Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Department of Pediatrics, Pécs University, Pécs, Hungary
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece
Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Vienna University, Vienna, Austria
GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Zaragoza University, Zaragoza, Spain
National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy