Catch me if you can! How French adolescents seize social occasions and opportunities to be active

Thibaut Derigny*, Christophe Schnitzler, Teun Remmers, Dave Van Kann, Joseph Gandrieau, Ndongo Seye, Georges Baquet, François Potdevin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Following an ecological framework, the aim of this study was to highlight the way adolescents invested their time in opportunities to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) according to whether they were profiled as more or less active. This study's innovation lies in the analysis of MVPA according to social occasions which are understood as opportunities to be active throughout the day (e.g. home, school, transport).

METHODS: PA data measured by accelerometry (ActiGraph GT3X) for seven consecutive days were compiled, with adolescents' social occasions during the week recorded in a daily digital diary (n = 135). The opportunity ratio of MVPA at each social time is the ratio between time spent in MVPA and the duration of a corresponding social occasion. Following the literature, participants were categorised into three profiles according to their reported amount of MVPA: HEPA active, minimally active and inactive. Non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank and Kruskal Wallis tests were performed to determine the relative intensity of PA performed at different social occasions, and to investigate whether intensities differed between adolescents with various activity profiles.

RESULTS: Results showed that engagement in MVPA at different social occasions differed according to participant profiles. Mismatch was noticed between the opportunity ratio and the duration of the most and least favorable social occasions for MVPA. For all three profiles, the social occasion "physical education lesson" revealed an opportunity ratio of MVPA (23.6% vs 17.0% vs 13.8%) significantly higher than the overall opportunity ratio of the week (6.9% vs 2.9% vs 1.2%), but of lower duration. Conversely, "home" (5.3% vs 0.0% vs 0.0%) and "school" (outside of PE time) (2.4% vs 0.0% vs 0.0%) represented the two least opportune social occasions for PA in an adolescent's week.

CONCLUSIONS: Rethinking engagement with MVPA in the context of temporal opportunities would allow potential ways to intervene within an educational supervised setting to help young people adopt a physically active lifestyle at the end of the key period of adolescence. These results reinforced the importance of context in interventions for PA promotion, opening for "time education" in people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1332
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022


  • Physical activity
  • Health
  • Temporal patterns
  • Social times
  • Contexts
  • Logbook
  • Accelerometers
  • TIME

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