A-10/13 Physical activity among Norwegian adolescents- a multilevel analysis of how place of residence is associated with health behavior. The Young-HUNT Study

The purpose of this article is to investigate whether and to what degree participation in physical activity among adolescents is associated with area economic deprivation in the municipality where they live. In the study we took account of aggregated informal social capital at the municipality level and compositional effects due to spatial concentration of individual variables known to be associated with physical activity. These include informal social participation, participation in other cultural activities, and family affluence. The study was based on a secondary analysis of data from the Norwegian HUNT study and municipality characteristics from the Norwegian Social Science Data Service 'Commune Database' from 2006. The sample consisted of 8114 adolescents whose ages ranged from 13 to 19. The explanatory power of the independent variables on the dependent variable was assessed using a multilevel analysis in which individuals comprised the first level and were nested within the municipality level. The average level of physical activity was not negatively associated with the level of area economic deprivation when we adjusted for informal social participation at the community level. Adjusting for area economic deprivation, we found that informal social participation at the community level was associated with a higher level of participation in physical activity at p< .01. For adolescents in a given municipality, informal social participation is more strongly associated with a higher level of physical activity than the degree of area economic deprivation. This finding supports our social capital hypothesis, which states that the amount of social capital is strengthening the individual's ability to take part in physical activity. International Journal for Equity in Health 2013, 12:56 https://www.equityhealthj.com/content/12/1/56

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