Adolescent Physical Activity and Health
Physical activity in adolescence may contribute to the development of healthy adult lifestyles, helping reduce chronic disease incidence. However, definition of the optimal amount of physical activity in adolescence requires addressing a number of scientifIc challenges. This article reviews the evidence on short- and long-term health effects of adolescent physical activity. Systematic reviews of the literature were undertaken using a reference period between 2000 and 2004, based primarily on the MEDLINE/PubMed database. Relevant studies were identifIed by examination of titles, abstracts and full papers, according to inclusion criteria defined a priori. A conceptual framework is proposed to outline how adolescent physical activity may contribute to adult health, including the following pathways: (i) pathway A — tracking of physical activity from adolescence to adulthood; (ii) pathway B — direct influence of adolescent physical activity on adult morbidity; (iii) pathway C — role of physical activity in treating adolescent morbidity; and (iv) pathway D — short-term benefits of physical activity in adolescence on health. The literature reviews showed consistent evidence supporting pathway ‘A’, although the magnitude of the association appears to be moderate. Thus, there is an indirect effect on all health benefits resulting from adult physical activity. drawing recommendations. Finally, although studies on physical fitness are of interest for understanding the relationships between fitness and health, guidelines should focus on PA rather than fitness.
Definition of adolescent PA guidelines is beyond the scope of this article, but our conceptual framework, and the recognition that domains of PA are different from those of adults may help governmental and non-governmental agencies involved in creating these guidelines.
No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.
- 1.LaPorte RE, Montoye HJ, Caspersen CJ. Assessment of physical activity in epidemiologic research: problems and prospects. Public Health Rep 1985; 100: 131–46Google Scholar
- 3.US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity and health: a report from the Surgeon General. Atlanta(GA): National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1996Google Scholar
- 5.Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. The Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 1997Google Scholar
- 6.Parsons TJ, Power C, Logan S, et al. Childhood predictors of adult obesity: a systematic review. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1999; 23 Suppl. 8: S1–107Google Scholar
- 33.Ram FS, Robinson SM, Black PN. Physical training for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000: CDOO1116Google Scholar
- 35.Summerbell CD, Ashton V, Campbell KJ, et al. Interventions for treating obesity in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003: CDOO1872Google Scholar
- 36.Ekeland E, Heian F, Hagen KB, et al. Exercise to improve self esteem in children and young people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004: CD003683Google Scholar
- 38.Bradley J, Moran F. Physical training for cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002:CD002768Google Scholar
- 41.Broman-Fulks JJ, Berman ME, Rabian BA, et al. Effects of aerobic exercise on anxiety sensitivity. Behav Res Ther 2004;Google Scholar
- 45.MacKelvie KJ, Khan KM, Petit MA, et al. A school-based exercise intervention elicits substantial bone health benefits: a 2-year randomized controlled trial in girls. Pediatrics 2003;112: e447Google Scholar
- 52.Sallis J, Patrick K. Physical activity guidelines for adolescents: consensus statement. Ped Exerc Sci 1994; 6: 302–14Google Scholar
- 53.Biddle S, Cavill N, Sallis J. Young and Active? Young people and health-enhancing physical activity - evidence and in publications. London: Health Education Authority, 1998Google Scholar