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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


NOGUEIRA, Danielle et al. Does leisure-time physical activity in early adulthood predict later physical activity? Pro-Saude Study. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2009, vol.12, n.1, pp.3-9. ISSN 1415-790X.

INTRODUCTION: Leisure-Time Physical Activity (LTPA) is a health behavior that is considered relatively stable over the course of life; this life-long habit seems to be shaped during youth and early adulthood. LTPA is one of the few healthy behaviors more prevalent among men than among women. METHODS:Data from 3,199 participants of the Pro-Saude Study were analyzed - a cohort of employees of a university in Rio de Janeiro, collected with a self-reported multidimensional questionnaire. The association between LTPA in early adulthood and later was investigated using multinomial logistic regression, with estimated odds ratios (OR), considering three outcome categories: inactive, insufficiently active, and active. Past LTPA was grouped into three categories: never/rarely (reference category), sometimes and frequently/always. Estimates were adjusted for: age; participants' schooling, their father's and mother's schooling, and color/race. RESULTS:Analysis shows men who engaged in LTPA sometimes and almost always/always in early adulthood had an OR= 1.42 (95% CI: 0.70-2.89) and OR= 3.33 (95% CI: 1.82-6.10), respectively, of being physically active in later adulthood than those who did not engage in LTPA. Among women, the corresponding odds ratios were lower: OR = 1.19 (95% CI: 0.79-1.79) and OR =1.42 (95% CI: 1.00-2.04). CONCLUSION:LTPA during early adulthood is associated with physical activity later in adulthood, and this association is stronger in men than in women. Public policies that encourage LTPA among youth, with specific efforts directed at women, could increase the proportion of physically active adults.

Keywords : Leisure-time physical activity; Metabolic equivalent; Gender; Life course.

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