Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Decline in physical activity levels of adolescents play a role in overall energy balance and can lead to overweight and obesity. Determining the factors that affect physical activity can help tailor specific obesity prevention and intervention and long-term management .


Published studies were reviewed over a ten year period from 2003-2013 for factors that have an effect on physical activity of adolescents ages 10-21. Databases used for the search included: PubMed, SportDiscus, PsyclNFO, Scopus and ClNAHL. Articles were limited to the English language. Articles that did not have a research focus or that were not looking specifically at determinants of physical activity were excluded along with articles that did not fit the age range defined .


Main factors found to affect adolescent physical activity delineated in the current literature reviewed are: self-efficacy, parental support, social support, and enviromnent A total of twenty studies were reviewed. . The review ofliterature revealed six studies that were cross-sectional designs that focused on adolescent physical activity levels at one point in time to determine barriers to participating in PA. Five studies were randomized control trials that looked at adolescent PA and MVP A in relation to adolescent self-efficacy and social support in the school setting. The review of literature included five studies that were systematic reviews of the literature that looked at multiple contributing factors affecting adolescent PA with self-efficacy determined to be the most likely predictor of an adolescent participating in PA. One study in the review of literature was an embedded single case study that looked at adolescent barriers to PA in a rural community. Two longitudinal studies reviewed in the literature specified the importance of parental encouragement in promoting adolescent PA. One study was a combined cross-sectional study with a longitudinal sub component that included affects of adolescent self-efficacy on PA along with importance of parental support over time on adolescent PA. Studies were primarily focused on school based interventions in urban areas. Three studies were in rural communities. Frameworks were not readily identified or apparent in most of the studies. When a framework was identified self determination theory, social cognitive theory and the ecological model were mentioned to explain the behavioral factors related to adolescent physical activity. Two of the rural studies used community based participatory research models to determine community needs

Nursing Implications

Advanced practice nurses are in the position of being able to prevent, assess, diagnose and treat adolescent overweight and obesity. Being able to provide detailed and specific care based on the factors that contribute to declines in physical activity in the adolescent population is a vital part of the comprehensive prevention strategies to maintain ideal body weight and prevent adolescent obesity .