The objective of this cross-sectional study was to study associations between low back pain (LBP) and modes of transport to school and leisure activities among adolescents. The study population included all adolescents in eighth and ninth grade in two geographic areas in eastern Norway. Eighty-eight adolescents participated (mean age 14.7 years), making the response rate 84%. Data concerning active (walking/bicycling) and passive (bus/car) journeys were obtained from lists and maps from local authorities, and from the pupils, using a questionnaire that also included LBP, activities and wellbeing. Distance walked/bicycled to school was slightly shorter among those reporting LBP in bivariate analyses. Walking/bicycling more than 8 km weekly to regular activities was inversely associated with LBP in multivariate analysis (OR 0.3; 95% confidence interval 0.1-1.0). No associations were found between passive journeys and LBP. The results raise the question for future research of whether lack of active transport may be one cause behind the increase in juvenile LBP.
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to explore associations between self-reported leisure activities and low back pain (LBP). The material included all adolescents in eighth and ninth grade in two geographical areas in the school year 1996-1997. Eighty-eight adolescents participated (mean age 14.7 years), making the response rate 84%. LBP during the preceding year was reported by 57%. Sixty-six percent reported physical activity 3 times weekly or more. The median time spent on television or computer was 15 h. In multivariate analyses, LBP was inversely associated with time spent on physical activity, in particular with regular walking or bicycling. LBP was associated with the use of television or computer more than 15 h weekly, but not with the time spent reading. The results confirm studies showing inverse associations between walking and LBP. Future research should involve prospective studies of the potential effects of walking or bicycling and other specific activities on LBP.
Health promotion measures in order to increase physical activity should include environmental and policy approaches. Studies in natural living environments such as rural and urban areas may provide valuable information about the effects of environmental factors on physical activity. The present study was performed among 88 adolescents living in one rural and one urban area in Norway, with particular focus on the availability of cycling tracks and walking trails. The study showed that both rural and urban adolescents spent more time on sedentary activities, such as watching TV/video and playing TV/data-games, than on regular physical activity. No differences were observed between the two groups in regard to activity patterns. However, the median distance the urban adolescents walked or cycled to school was three times greater than the median distance the rural adolescents walked or cycled to a bus stop or to school. The urban adolescents also walked or cycled more to regular activities than the rural ones. Positive correlations were found between walking or cycling from home to school and walking or cycling to regular activities. In multiple regression analysis, urban area, female gender and distance walked or cycled to school or bus stop predicted increased walking or cycling to activities. The results confirm other studies on adolescents, showing that much more time is spent on sedentary rather than on physical activity. Knowledge is still lacking concerning predictors of sedentary and general physical activity, but the results indicate that access to cycling tracks and walking trails in residential areas may increase both walking or cycling to school and to leisure activities. A relevant strategy for health promotion may therefore be to make cycling tracks and walking trails accessible; some passive transport both to school and to leisure activities may thus probably be replaced by walking or cycling.