Objective: To determine whether adolescent attitudes towards sports, exercise, and fitness predict moderate-to-vigorous physical activity 5 and 10 years later. Method: A diverse group of 1902 adolescents participating in Project Eating and Activity in Teens, reported weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and attitudes toward sports, exercise, and fitness in Eating and Activity in Teens-I (1998-99), Eating and Activity in Teens-II (2003-04), and Eating and Activity in Teens-III (2008-09). Results: Mean moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was 6.4, 5.1, and 4.0. hours/week at baseline, 5-year, and 10-year follow-up, respectively. Attitudes toward sports, exercise, and fitness together predicted moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at 5 and 10 years. Among the predictors of 5- and 10-year moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, attitude's effect size, though modest, was comparable to the effect sizes for sports participation and body mass index. Adolescents with more-favorable attitudes toward sports, exercise, and fitness engaged in approximately 30%-40% more weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at follow-up (2.1. hour/week at 5 years and 1.2. hour/week at 10 years) than those with less-favorable attitudes. Conclusion: Adolescents' exercise-related attitudes predict subsequent moderate-to-vigorous physical activity independent of baseline behavior suggesting that youth moderate-to-vigorous physical activity promotion efforts may provide long-term benefits by helping youth develop favorable exercise attitudes.
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- Physical activity