Physical activity, body composition and physical self-esteem: a 3-year follow-up study among adolescents in Sweden

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Abstract

Aims

To measure physical activity by means of daily pedometer steps, body composition, expressed as body mass index (BMI) and bioelectrical impedance as percent body fat, and perceived physical self-esteem and additionally, to evaluate eventual predictors for a healthy lifestyle i.e., highly physically active, normal weighted and a high physical self-esteem in a follow-up group.

Methods

During autumn 2000 physical activity level was assessed and BMI was calculated in 871 children aged 7–14 in south eastern Sweden and in 501 of these, physical self-esteem were also assessed. During autumn 2003 a total of 375 adolescents aged 15–18 were assessed using the same methodology and additionally percent body fat was measured. Ninety-three of these adolescents (46 girls), were also measured in 2000 and they formed the follow-up group.

Results

In the follow-up group a significant increase in BMI and stability in physical self-esteem in boys and girls, and in boys a significant decrease in daily steps was found 3 years later. Strongest predictor to be highly physically active, maintain normal BMI and high self-esteem 3 years later, i.e., to have a healthy lifestyle, was for girls increased self-esteem and for boys a decreased BMI.

Conclusion

Consequently, for a healthy lifestyle, promoting physical self-esteem in girls and weight control in boys is of great importance in early adolescence.

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