Objectives: Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle in adolescence. Previous studies have shown physical activity to be associated with socio-economic status and self-esteem; the latter association may mediate the former, but evidence on this is lacking. The aim of this study was to explore the associations of socioeconomic status and the self-esteem of adolescents with physical activity, and their joint effects.
Methods: A sample of 3694 elementary-school students from Slovakia (mean age 14.3 years, 49% boys) completed the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale and answered questions about the frequency of their physical activity and their parents' educational level.
Results: Adolescents with higher socio-economic status were significantly more likely to report physical activity on >= 5 days/week and to report higher self-esteem. In logistic regression, the association between socio-economic status and physical activity decreased after including self-esteem, suggesting that at least a part of this association is mediated by self-esteem.
Conclusions: To conclude, youths from lower socio-economic groups have already been identified as a target group, for intervention. These findings suggest that it is important for promotion programmes to focus not only on the enhancement of their physical activity, but also on their self-esteem as a possible mediator. (C) 2011 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.