Adolescents' perceptions of physical activity for the enhancement of health: a systematic review
Adolescents are usually considered to be in good health, but their wellbeing tend to decrease from primary school to high school. When youth participate in at least 60 min of physical activity every day several health benefits accrue: healthy bones and muscles, improved muscular strength and endurance, reduced risk of developing chronic disease risk factors, improved self-esteem, as well as reduced stress and anxiety. Most youth, however, are not engaging in the recommended level of physical activity. Several studies report that adolescents’ general perception of health includes immediate issues like body awareness and not other health risks like osteoporosis, cholesterol and high blood pressure. The aim of this study was to firstly establish from the literature the main perceptions of physical activity for adolescents, and secondly to establish from the literature the main perceptions of physical activity in health enhancement for adolescents. The systematic review was, where possible, undertaken in line with the recommendations of the guidelines of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. The researchers independently reviewed the title and abstract of each reference to assess its eligibility. The full article was obtained for all potentially eligible references. After a review of the full article, 29 fulfilled the inclusion criteria for article 1 (chapter 2) and 17 articles for article 2 (chapter 3). From the results of the study it seemed that the main perceptions of physical activity for adolescents are influenced by cultural and social factors as well as parents’ beliefs. Perceptions youth have about physical activity will influence their participation in physical activity. Lastly, the results of this study demonstrate that there is a low level of knowledge and awareness regarding physical activity and health. The need to increase physical activity is a public health priority and therefore it is necessary to understand the factors that may influence their participation in order to promote physical activity among youth more effectively.