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Open AccessArticle

Physical Activity Levels for Girls and Young Adult Women versus Boys and Young Adult Men in Spain: A Gender Gap Analysis

Observatory of Healthy and Active Living of Spain Active Foundation, Centre for Sport Studies, King Juan Carlos University, 28942 Madrid, Spain
GO Fit LAB, Ingesport, 28003 Madrid, Spain
Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, College of Health, Wellbeing & Life Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S9 3TU, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6265;
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 29 July 2020 / Accepted: 31 July 2020 / Published: 4 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education, Health Promotion, and Sustainability)
Despite that the health benefits of physical activity (PA) are clear, during the last years, a noticeable plateau or slight increase in physical inactivity levels in Spanish adolescents and young adults has been reported. In addition, there seems to be a progressive reduction of the total PA performed with age in both adolescent and young women as well as adult men. We aimed to analyze these changes with age in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in a sample of Spanish adolescents and young adults within the age range of 15–24 years old (n = 7827), considering the gender and using the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. For that, we implemented a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) considering both the gender and the age group surveyed. Generally, our findings showed a reduction in the daily MVPA performed from adolescence to young adulthood in Spaniards. Within these reductions, girls reduce their PA levels at a different age and pace in adolescence and young adulthood in comparison to boys. Though girls were less active than boys in the 15–18 year age range, these differences were no longer significant at older ages. Our results point out the necessity of implementing different policy approaches based on gender (i.e., for girls and young women), since reductions in the MVPA performed occur at particular ages and paces in comparison to boys and young men. This difference indicates that the traditional approach during adolescence and young adulthood is inadequate for tackling physical inactivity without considering the population’s gender. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical inactivity; adolescence; International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) physical inactivity; adolescence; International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)
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Mayo, X.; Luque-Casado, A.; Jimenez, A.; del Villar, F. Physical Activity Levels for Girls and Young Adult Women versus Boys and Young Adult Men in Spain: A Gender Gap Analysis. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6265.

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