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Open AccessArticle

An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Associated with Health-Related Physical Fitness in Adolescents. The ASSO Project

Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Unit, SPPF Department, University of Palermo, 90144 Palermo, Italy
PhD Program in Health Promotion and Cognitive Sciences, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, 35100 Padua, Italy
POSTURALAB Italia, 90100 Palermo, Italy
Department of Physical Activity and Sport, University of Murcia, 30720 Murcia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1847;
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 2 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity as a Means of Culture, Leisure and Free Time)
Monitoring physical fitness (fitness) and identifying, since the beginning, possible determinants in youth could be useful to preserve health and avoid morbidities in adulthood. The main objective of this study is to provide details on the fitness levels of a sample of adolescents living in the Southern area of Italy and describe its associations with biological/genetic, socio-cultural/environmental, and lifestyle (physical activity/sedentariness, alcohol/smoking, meal patterns/habits) factors. The study was conducted within the Adolescence Surveillance System for Obesity Prevention (ASSO) project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Health and examining adolescents’ lifestyle in relation to obesity. Fitness measures were collected through the ASSO-fitness tests battery (FTB) and examined in relation to 79 selected possible influencing factors, which were collected through a web-based questionnaire included in the ASSO-NutFit software. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess associations, with ORs and 95% CIs estimated as crude and adjusted. A total of 919 participants were initially recruited, but fitness data were collected for 544 students aged 13–19 (68% M, 32% F). Fitness level was low for 14.2% of the students, medium for 67.8%, and high for 18.0%. The independent determinants of low physical fitness in our sample of adolescents were included in the biological/genetic and physical activity/sedentariness dimensions: female gender (Adj OR 8.33, CI 2.08–33.33), obesity (Adj OR 1.97, CI 1.10–9.22), practicing sport less than 3 h/week (Adj OR 6.09, CI 1.63–22.72), practicing sport with strength/speed as prevalent biomotor ability (Adj OR 8.97, CI 1.43–56.19), using PC/internet for more than 3 h/day (Adj OR 4.46, CI 1.17–16.98). Drinking alcohol was instead a protective factor. This study confirms that females and obese individuals need more attention in the interventions aimed at increasing fitness levels. It suggests that local actions should be implemented with the aim of increasing sport practices and reducing sedentary time spent in front of PC/internet. The focus should be particularly addressed to sports with strength or speed as dominant biomotor abilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical fitness; ASSO project; health promotion; lifestyle physical fitness; ASSO project; health promotion; lifestyle
MDPI and ACS Style

Bianco, A.; Gentile, A.; Boca, S.; Paoli, A.; Messina, G.; Gómez-López, M.; Palma, A.; Tabacchi, G. An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Associated with Health-Related Physical Fitness in Adolescents. The ASSO Project. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1847.

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