The relationship between physical activity and self-rated health status in European adolescents: Results of the EURO-URHIS 2 survey

Emily Granger, Gregory Williams, Francesco Di Nardo, Anne Harrison, Arpana Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Engaging in regular physical activity has a beneficial impact on both physical health and on subjective health indicators. The aims of this study were (i) to assess the association between physical activity levels and self-reported health status in European adolescents and (ii) to identify any differences in the distribution of adolescents reporting good health between active and inactive subjects across urban areas. Methods: The study sample comprised 13 783 15-year olds from 21 urban areas across Europe who participated in the European Urban Health Indicators System Part 2 youth survey in 2010/11. Data collected on physical activity levels, self-rated health status and covariates including gender, BMI, socioeconomic status and sedentary behaviour were analyzed in a multivariable logistic regression model. Results: High levels of physical activity (OR: 1.607, 95% CI: 1.245–2.074, P < 0.001) were associated with self-rated ‘good health’ across the cohort as a whole. All cities except Iasi showed a positive association between high levels of physical activity and good health. This was significant in four cases: Amsterdam, Cardiff, Greater Manchester and Merseyside (P = 0.035, 0.016, 0.010 and 0.049, respectively). Only 13.3% of the cohort met the current WHO physical activity level recommendations. Conclusion: High levels of physical activity are positively associated with self-rated ‘good health’ status in European adolescents. Alarming levels of physical inactivity make it a priority to encourage greater engagement in physical activity. Promotion of physical activity should be specifically tailored to each urban area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberS2
Early online date10 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Physical activity
  • body mass index procedure
  • lack of exercise
  • Adolescence
  • Health statistics
  • Personal satisfaction
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • World Health Organization
  • Gender
  • Self-report


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