Table 4

Summary of prospective studies on determinants of physical activity in children and adolescents

Associated with physical activityNot associated with physical activity# samples showing associationLoE
# samplesReferencesAssociation# samplesReferences+
Biological, demographic
 Gender (male)1(28s)+2(48s), (52o)1/3?
 Parent education (more)1(47s G)5(21s G) (47o B, G),(47s B)1/5?
 Intention2(23s), (28s)+02/2+
 Perceived behavioural control1(23s (T2–T3))+2(23s (T1–T2)), (28s)1/3?
 Past physical activity1(23s)+1(40o (measured at 6 months))1/2?
 Screen time2(21s G), (40o (measured at 54 months))1(40o (measured at 38 months))2/3?
 Parent activity4(21s G (MPA)), (40o), (48s (MPA)), (52o (FPA))+3(21s G (FPA)), (48s (FPA)), (52o (MPA))4/7?
Biological, demographic
 Age2(38s), (33s)+02/2+
 Time1(51o B)1(51o G)1/2?
 Gender (male)2(22as c2), (38s)+1(33s)2/3?
 Ethnicity (African American race)4(21s G (all ages)), (29s G)04/4
 BMI/skin folds1(21s G (15–16y))3(21s G (13–14y, 17–18y)), (33s)1/4?
 Parent education3(21s G (all ages))+4(47o&s B, G)3/7?
 Intention2(50s G), (53s)+3(22s c1 and c2), (44s)2/5?
 Attitudes02(33s), (53s)?
 Athletic competence2(21s G (15–16y, 17–18y))+1(21s G (13–14y))2/3?
 Prefer sedentary activities2(21s G (13–14y, 15–16y))1(21s G (17–18y))2/3?
 Rather do other things3(21s G (all ages))03/3?
 Boys better at activity1(21s G (17–18y))2(21s G (13–14y, 15–16y))1/3?
 Exercise controls weight03(21s G (all ages))?
 Perceived behavioural control4(22s (c2)), (29s G 2xb) (50s G)+2(30s G), (53s)4/6?
 Planning2(22s (c2)), (44s)+02/2+
 Perceived parent activity3(21s G (FPA 15–16y, 17–18y)), (21s G (MPA 13–14y)+3(21s G (FPA 13–14y)), (21s G (MPA 15–16y, 17–18y)3/6?
 Past physical activity9(22s (c1 and c2)), (31o&s), (34s G), (39s), (44s), (49s), (50s G)+09/9+
 Screen time1(21s G (17–18y))2(21s G (13–14y, 15–16y))1/3?
 Parent activity02(31o), (33s MPA)?
 Exercise with parent1(21s G (13–14y))+2(21s G (15–16y, 17–18y))1/3?
  • * Luszczynska et al (2010) reported on two different cohorts; reported on here as c1 and c2.

  • Dowda et al (2007) reported on self-efficacy and perceived behavioural control separately, reported on here as 2 separate samples.

  • +, positive association; −, negative association; ?, insufficient evidence for an association; References in bold, high quality study; B, boy, FPA, physical activity father; G, girl (studies reporting on boys and girls separately provided 2 samples, the sample includes both genders in case no B or G is stated); LoE, level of evidence; o, objectively measured physical activity; MPA, physical activity mother; s, subjectively measured physical activity.