A1 Journal article (refereed)
The Associations between Physical Activity and Body-Esteem in 15-Year-Old Adolescents : A Cross-Sectional Study from Finland (2021)

Ojala, K., Huotari, P., Villberg, J., & Tynjälä, J. (2021). The Associations between Physical Activity and Body-Esteem in 15-Year-Old Adolescents : A Cross-Sectional Study from Finland. Physical Activity and Health, 5(1), 154-165. https://doi.org/10.5334/paah.107

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ojala, Kristiina; Huotari, Pertti; Villberg, Jari; Tynjälä, Jorma

Journal or series: Physical Activity and Health

eISSN: 2515-2270

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 06/08/2021

Volume: 5

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 154-165

Publisher: Ubiquity Press, Ltd.

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/paah.107

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77413


Purpose: Physical activity promotes a positive physical self-image, but less is known about whether the positive effect covers the general self-evaluation of adolescent appearance. This study aimed to further explore the associations between physical activity and body-esteem in Finnish adolescents, via a country-representative cross-sectional study design.

Methods: The data for the study were drawn from the Finnish component of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study (2014), using surveys from 15-year-old adolescents (n=1956, mean age 15.8 years) from 122 schools. Self-evaluations of body or appearance were measured by the Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA). A mixed effects linear regression analysis for body-esteem was conducted separately for boys and girls. The explanatory variables were (i) self-reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), (ii) weight status, (iii) self-esteem, and (iv) socioeconomic status. The covariates used in the models were maturation state and ethnic background.

Results: The body-esteem score was highest among adolescents who reported engagement in MVPA corresponding to the international recommendation for adolescents’ physical activity. The positive association between MVPA and body-esteem was found even when it was considered in conjunction with other body image-related factors, but only among boys. The variance in MVPA explained 5.0% of the body-esteem variance in the model for boys (Model R2 = 26.3%).

Conclusions: The physical activity of young people should be further promoted for a variety of health reasons, including its positive association with higher body-esteem. However, consideration should be given to gender differences and other factors related in this complex association.

Keywords: young people; physical activity; self-esteem; body image

Free keywords: adolescents; body-esteem; body image; physical activity; self-esteem

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:31