Self-reported physical activity in European adolescents: Results from the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study

Katrien De Cocker, Charlene Ottevaere, Michael Sjöström, Luis A. Maöreno, Julia Wrnberg, Jara Valtueña, Yannis Manios, Sabine Dietrich, Beatrice Mauro, Enrique G. Artero, Dénes Molnár, Maria Hagströmer, Jonathan R. Ruiz, Katerina Sarri, Anthony Kafatos, Frédéric Gottrand, Stefaan De Henauw, Lea Maes, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

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Objective: To describe self-reported physical activity (PA) patterns in the various domains (school, home, transport, leisure time) and intensity categories (walking, moderate PA, vigorous PA) in European adolescents. Furthermore, self-reported PA patterns were evaluated in relation to gender, age category, weight status category and socio-economic status (SES).Design: Cross-sectional study.Setting: Ten European cities.Subjects: In total, 3051 adolescents (476 % boys, mean age 148 (sd 12) years) completed an adolescent-adapted version of the validated International Physical Activity Questionnaire.Results: The total sample reported most PA during leisure time (485 min/week) and least PA at home (140 min/week). Boys reported significantly more school-based PA (P < 0.001), leisure-time PA (P = 0.003), vigorous PA (P < 0.001) and total PA (P = 0.002) than girls, while girls reported more home-based PA (P < 0001) and walking (P = 0.002) than boys. Self-reported PA at school (P < 0.001), moderate PA (P < 0.001), vigorous PA (P < 0.001) and total PA (P < 0.001) were significantly higher in younger age groups than in older groups. Groups based on weight status differed significantly only in leisure-time PA (P = 0.004) and total PA (P = 0.003), while groups based on SES differed in all PA domains and intensities except transport-related PA and total PA.Conclusions: The total sample of adolescents reported different scores for the different PA domains and intensity categories. Furthermore, patterns were different according the adolescents gender, age, weight status and SES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-254
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2011



  • Adolescence
  • Age
  • BMI
  • Family affluence
  • Gender
  • Questionnaire
  • Socio-economic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

De Cocker, K., Ottevaere, C., Sjöström, M., Maöreno, L. A., Wrnberg, J., Valtueña, J., Manios, Y., Dietrich, S., Mauro, B., Artero, E. G., Molnár, D., Hagströmer, M., Ruiz, J. R., Sarri, K., Kafatos, A., Gottrand, F., De Henauw, S., Maes, L., & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2011). Self-reported physical activity in European adolescents: Results from the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Public Health Nutrition, 14(2), 246-254.