Association of low weekly physical activity and sedentary lifestyle with self-perceived health, pain, and well-being in a Spanish teenage population



Physical activity (PA) and sedentary lifestyle have been widely associated with specific physiological effects in adolescents. However, the relation of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle with self-perceived health, pain, and well-being is less evident, and sometimes gender differences generate contradictory results.


To determine the association of low weekly physical activity level and highly sedentary lifestyles with self-perceived, pain, and well-being in a Spanish teenage population.

Prospects and projects

A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted. A total of 2293 Spanish 12–16-year-old adolescents participated in the present study. Self-perceived health, pain, well-being, and sedentary lifestyle were assessed with the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children questionnaire. The association between variables was studied by binary logistic regression analysis and all analyses were adjusted by age and BMI.


Boys and girls with low PA levels had significantly higher odds ratios (OR) and were more likely to consider their self-perceived health level as low (OR = 1.436 and OR = 1.467, respectively). Boys with low PA levels showed greater risk of suffering pain sometimes (vs. never; OR = 1.303) and perceiving well-being sometimes (vs. always; OR = 1.786). Boys who watch TV most at weekends and PC on weekdays showed higher odds ratios (OR) and are more likely to perceive well-being only sometimes (vs. always; OR = 1.282) and to consider their health level as low (vs. excellent; OR = 1.217).


Low weekly PA leads to reduced self-perceived health in teenagers. It also increases the risk of pain and decreases the well-being of teenage boys. The effects of a highly sedentary lifestyle may differ according to gender and type of sedentary activity (TV, PC, or homework). These differences suggest the need of specific approaches to PA and sedentary lifestyle levels according to gender.


E.J.Martínez-López, F.Hita-Contreras, J.E.Moral-García, A.Grao-Cruces, J.R.Ruiz, M.T.Redecillas-Peiró, A.Martínez-Amat

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