Physical activity from childhood and adolescence to adulthood : a longitudinal analysis
Thompson, Angela Maria
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The purpose of this investigation was to quantify tracking of physical activity from childhood and adolescence to adulthood and to describe the influence of childhood and adolescent physical activity experiences on adult physical activity attitudes and behaviors. To address the first purpose, 70 males (40 yrs) and 43 females (35-39 yrs) took part in a follow up investigation (SGDSII) of the longitudinal Saskatchewan Growth and Development Study (SGDSI). Physical activity was measured using self-report questionnaires. Tracking was assessed using correlation and percentile analyses in the males and females separately. There were no significant Spearman correlation coefficients from the correlations of childhood and adolescence physical activity scores compared with adult physical activity scores. In the percentile analyses, subjects were given an overall rating for their physical activity level during their childhood and adolescence and another rating for their adult physical activity. Subjects were divided into quartiles using rank order analyses in which the top 25%, middle 50% and bottom 25% were considered active, average, and inactive respectively. The results from these analyses performed separately for the males and females showed that 44.3% of the males and 37.2% of the females remained in the same activity classification for both time periods. Interviews were conducted with 31 of the SGDSII participants to describe the influence of childhood and adolescent physical activity experiences on adult physical activity attitudes and behaviors. Purposive sampling was used to ensure representation of males and females from the three physical activity groups (active, average, inactive). The data was analyzed using thematic analyses separately for the males and females. In the males, "significant others", "size and maturation", and "perception of ability" from their recollections of their childhood and adolescence physical activity experiences influenced their adult physical activity attitudes and behaviors. In the females, "transitions", "body image concerns", and "significant others" influenced their adult physical activity attitudes and behaviors. These results indicate that there were specific relationships, circumstances and perceptions formed in childhood and adolescence that had a lasting influence on the physical activity attitudes and behaviors in males and females.