Physical inactivity levels of European adolescents in 2002; 2005; 2013 and 2017

Jorge Lopez Fernandez, Alejandro Lopez-Valenciano, Gemma Pearce, Robert J. Copeland, Gary Liguori, Alfonso Jimenez, Xian Mayo

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    Sport and Physical Activity (PA) Special Eurobarometer surveys may inform of the physical inactivity (PIA) levels in the European Union (EU). This study aimed to analyse the PIA levels of EU adolescents (15–17 years) in four time points, according to gender. The data were from 2002, 2005, 20013, and 2017 Special Eurobarometers. Adolescents were categorised as “Inactive” when performing less than 60 min/day of moderate to vigorous PA on average. A χ2 test was used to compare the levels of PIA between survey years. PIA levels between gender were analysed using a Z-score test for two population proportions. PIA levels ranged from 67.2% for boys (59.4% to 71.5%;) to 76.8% for girls (76.0% to 83.4) across the time points. Adjusted standardised residuals revealed a decrease in the observed levels versus the expected for 2005 (whole sample: −4.2; boys: −3.3) and an increase for 2013 (whole sample: +2.9; boys: +2.5). Boys presented lower PIA levels than girls in all years (p ≤ 0.003), but descriptively, the difference progressively decreased (from 18.4% to 11.8%). No significant reductions in PIA levels were observed between 2002 and 2017, and girls reported consistently higher levels of PIA than boys.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3758
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number4
    Early online date20 Feb 2023
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

    Bibliographical note

    © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


    • active behaviour
    • MVPA
    • national policies
    • physical activity
    • youth


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