Determinants and stages of behavior change to physicl activity among northeast brazilans adolescents

Por: G. S. Souza e .

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Although physical activity practice has been indicated as a health behavior, some concerns have been showed by scientific literature. Specifically among adolescents, the physical activity level has been declining, specifically between 15 and 17 years of age. The reason of this behavior among adolescents, however, is not yet sufficiently clear. The aim of this study was to describe the determinants and stages of behavior change (SBC) [1] to physical activity among northeast (Recife-Pernambuco) Brazilian adolescents.


All data utilized in this descriptive study was collected by specific self-reported questionnaire, validated to Brazilian adolescents (14-19 years). Subjects with mean age of 16.2 (+1.1 years old) were selected by a two-stages clusters sampling, and included 2,271 students (1,022 males and 1,249 females) from 29 private middle schools. Data on demographic characteristics were also collected. The analyses were performed using descriptive statistics, Chi-Square, Spearman’s correlation and Mann-Whitney test (0,05).


The students presented the following characteristics: 66,3% belonged to high socioeconomic status, and 87,2% lived in downtown Recife city. Among all barriers to physical activity, the social factor was prevalent, and personal factor was prevalent among the facilitators. The main barrier cited by them was laziness/lack of will, meanwhile the main facilitator was I like/I have desire. Sixty-two percent of them were classified as inactive or irregularly actives, being boys more actives than girls. In relation to SBC 36,9% of girls were on preparation stage, and among boys 35,9% were on maintenance stage.

Discussion / Conclusion

Although Recife has favorable weather to physical activity in most part of the year, adolescents have showed one accentuated decline on physical activity practice. Beside that girls were more inactive than boys, what is in agreement to the specific literature. In this sense the percentage of adolescents inactive or irregularly active are too high. Interventions in different sectors of public administration are necessary to reduce the inactive level of the young people.



[1] Prochaska, J. O. Redding CA, Evers KE. (2002) (in press). A transtheoretical model of behavior change. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research and Practice. K. Glanz, F. M. Lewis and B. K. Rimer, Jossey-Bass Publications, Inc. 99-120






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