American Journal of Human Biology vol:13 issue:2 pages:173-9
Limited information is available about the associations between adolescent fitness levels and adult physical activity. In the present study, these associations are investigated using different indicators of physical activity. It is hypothesized that both health- and performance-related fitness characteristics, observed during the adolescent period, contribute equally to the explained variance in adult physical activity levels. Subjects were 109 Flemish males followed over a period of 27 years from 13 to 40 years of age in the Leuven Longitudinal Study on Lifestyle Fitness and Health. Performance and health-related fitness characteristics were observed during the growth period and at 40 years of age. The Work Index, Leisure Time Index, and Sport Index of the Baecke questionnaire were used as indicators of physical activity together with triaxial accelerometry. Multiple regression and discriminant analyses contrasting extreme quintiles of activity groupings were used to analyse the associations. Only the Baecke Sport Index showed consistent significant associations (R2 = 0.03 to R2 = 0.23) with adolescent fitness levels observed at 13, 15, and 18 years. When upper and lower quintiles were contrasted, fitness characteristics observed at the three age levels during adolescence were significantly different for each of the three indices of the Baecke questionnaire at 40 years of age. Lowest associations (R2 = 0.09 to R2 = 0.17) were found for the Work Index, followed by the Leisure Time Index (R2 = 0.12 to R2 = 0.28) and Sport Index (R2 = 0.25 to R2 = 0.43). Highest associations were evident for the 18- to 40-year interval. Performance- and health-related fitness characteristics explain equally well the variance in physical activity indicators.