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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 816-826
Research Article

Self-Related Health, Physical Activity and Complaints in Swedish High School Students

1Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden
2Faculty of Education, Engineering and Nursing, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Levanger, Norway
3Department of Information Technology and Media, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
4Capio Artro Clinic, Stockholm Sports Trauma Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
5Department Neurotec, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Received 22 May 2006; Revised 27 June 2006; Accepted 28 June 2006

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2006 Marie Alricsson et al.


The aim of this investigation was to study self-related health, physical activity and level of exertion, as well as body complaints in Swedish high school students. A total of 993 high school students aged 16–19 years participated in the study. A questionnaire was completed at school and included questions about self-related health, physical activity behavior, type of physical activity/sport, intensity, duration, possible injuries or complaints, and absence from physical training at school, during the last 3 months. The results showed that 26% of the high school students participated in sports on a regular basis. Males reported significantly better health than females (p < 0.0005). A significantly higher number of females participated in physical activities at a lower level of effort (p < 0.0005) and a higher number of males trained at a higher level of effort (p < 0.005). Sixtyone percent reported body pain during the last 3 months, representing a higher number of females than males (p = 0.03). A higher number of females than males reported complaints from the back (p = 0.002), the knees (p = 0.015), the neck (p = 0.001), and the hip (p = 0.015). Females with body complaints reported poorer health than those without complaints. There was a correlation between poor self-related health and a lower level of physical effort (0.219; p < 0.001). The results showed that the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms was high in this population and demonstrated a certain association with self-related health. Therefore, it is important to make it easy for adolescents to perform physical activity at school and during their leisure time in order to prevent chronic diseases.