Public health discussions of physical activity’s positive health effects have tended to focus on physical health benefits rather than mental health benefits. Mental health problems are a worldwide public health burden. Among adults some evidence suggests that physical activity is a protective factor in relation to mental health problems. The same body of literature is not present among adolescents. With regard to prevention of mental health problems it is important to identify vulnerable groups that need special attention. If physical activity can be a preventive strategy,
knowledge of physical activity in subgroups of adolescents is important. With an increasing influx of immigrants to the Western parts of the world, cultural/ethnic background has become an important factor when studying health and health behaviour in a public health perspective. Inequality in health has also been a subject of increased attention during the last years, thus it is of great importance to study the significance of sociodemographic factors.
Sagatun Aa, Søgaard A-J, Selmer R, Bjertness E, Heyerdahl S, The association between weekly hours of physical activity and mental health. -A three-year follow up study of 15/16-years old pupils in the city of Oslo, Norway. BMC Public Health 2007;12(7):155. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-155
Sagatun Å, Lien L, Søgaard A-J, Bjertness E, Heyerdahl S. Ethnic Norwegian and ethnic minority adolescents in Oslo, Norway. A longitudinal study comparing change in mental health. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2008;43(2):87-95. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-007-0275-z
Sagatun Å, Kolle E, Anderssen SA, Thoresen M, Søgaard AJ. Three year follow-up of physical activity in two ethnic groups of Norwegian youth: associations with sociodemographic factors. BMC Public Health 2008;22(8):419. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-419
Bjertness E, Sagatun Å, Green K, Lien L, Søgaard AJ, Selmer R. Response rates and selection problems, with emphasis on mental health variables and DNA-sampling, in large population based cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of adolescents in Norway. [submitted] BMC Public Health