Correlation between physical activity and sedentary behavior with healthy and unhealthy behaviors in Italy and Tuscan region: a cross sectional study


Introduction. Regular physical activity (PA) has associated with various positive health aspects such as a decreased risk of chronic or generic illnesses, furthermore, a sedentary lifestyle has been asso- ciated with health problems such as obesity. To examine the rela- tionship between patterns of PA, screen-based media use (SBM) and social health indicators within a specific demographic group and highlight the regional vs. national differences in these relationships. Methods. The data is drawn from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) database, a national cross-sec- tional survey in a representative sample (N = 3920) of students aged 11-13-15 years and compared to those of the Tuscan region (N = 3381). Variables considered other than PA and SBM use includes positive health indicators such as physical health status, quality of family and peer relationships, fruit consumption, break- fast consumption as well as negative health indicators, such as health complaints, smoking and alcohol use. Results. Some positive health indicators showed a positive cor- relation with PA. Students adopting healthy behaviours often met the Physical Activity Guide Line (PAGL). On the contrary, negative health indicators were associated with PAGL in a neg- ative way. In general SBM was positively related to several of the negative health indicators and vice versa. SBM was related in a positive fashion to tobacco use that repre- sents a protective factor. Discussion. The results show that met PAGL is associated with positive health indicators and that high levels of SBM use is asso- ciated with negative health indicators. The study also emphasizes the relationship between PA, SBM use and social factors. Increas- ing PA and decreasing SBM use should be an aim in general health behaviour promotion.