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Urban versus rural lifestyle in adolescents: associations between environment, physical activity levels and sedentary behavior



To analyze the levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior in adolescents living in urban and rural areas.


An epidemiological, cross-section study with quantitative design, carried out at the regional level. The sample comprised 6,234 students aged 14 to 19 years, selected using random cluster sampling. The χ2 test and binary logistic regression were used in the analysis.


A total of 74.5% of adolescents lived in urban areas. After adjustment, rural residents spent less time watching television (odds ratio – OR: 0.45; 95% confidence interval – 95%CI: 0.39-0.52), using a computer and/or playing video games (OR: 0.30; 95%CI: 0.22-0.42), or sitting down (OR: 0.66; 95%CI: 0.54-0.80); chose passive leisure less often (OR: 0.83; 95%IC: 0.72-0.95) and were less likely to be classified as insufficiently active (OR: 0.88; 95%IC: 0.78-0.99) when compared to urban residents, regardless of sex or age. The fact that adolescents living in rural areas who did not work were more likely to be classified as insufficiently active (OR: 2.59; 95%CI: 2.07-3.24) emphasized the significant role of occupation in physical activity levels in this group.


Adolescents living in rural areas were less exposed to the sedentary behaviors, chose more active leisure, and had higher levels of physical activity. Place of residence and occupation may play a major role in youth lifestyle.

Motor activity; Adolescent behavior; Sedentary lifestyle; Urban population; Rural population

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