University of Oulu

Brylka, A.; Wolke, D.; Ludyga, S.; Bilgin, A.; Spiegler, J.; Trower, H.; Gkiouleka, A.; Gerber, M.; Brand, S.; Grob, A.; Weber, P.; Heinonen, K.; Kajantie, E.; Räikkönen, K.; Lemola, S. Physical Activity, Mental Health, and Well-Being in Very Pre-Term and Term Born Adolescents: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis of Two Accelerometry Studies. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1735.

Physical activity, mental health, and well-being in very pre-term and term born adolescents : an individual participant data meta-analysis of two accelerometry studies

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Author: Brylka, Asteria1; Wolke, Dieter1; Ludyga, Sebastian2;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
2Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Sport Sciences Section, University of Basel, CH-4052 Basel, Switzerland
3School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NP, UK
4Department of Paediatrics, University of Lübeck, 23562 Lübeck, Germany
5Psychiatric Clinics, Center for Affective, Stress, and Sleep Disorders, University of Basel, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
6Sleep Disorders Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah 6715847141, Iran
7Substance Abuse Prevention Research Center, Health Institute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Kermanshah 6715847141, Iran
8School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran 1417863181, Iran
9Department of Psychology, University of Basel, CH-4055 Basel, Switzerland
10Division of Neuropediatrics and Developmental Medicine, University Children’s Hospital Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
11Department of Psychology & Logopedics, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
12Psychology/Welfare Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, FI-33720 Tampere, Finland
13National Institute of Health and Welfare, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland
14PEDEGO Research Unit, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
15Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital and the University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
16Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-30


This study examined whether physical activity is associated with better mental health and well-being among very preterm (≤32 weeks) and term born (≥37 weeks) adolescents alike or whether the associations are stronger in either of the groups. Physical activity was measured with accelerometry in children born very preterm and at term in two cohorts, the Basel Study of Preterm Children (BSPC; 40 adolescents born ≤32 weeks of gestation and 59 term born controls aged 12.3 years) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS; 45 adolescents born ≤32 weeks of gestation and 3137 term born controls aged 14.2 years on average). In both cohorts, emotional and behavioral problems were mother-reported using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Subjective well-being was self-reported using the Kidscreen-52 Questionnaire in the BSPC and single items in the MCS. Hierarchical regressions with ‘preterm status × physical activity’-interaction effects were subjected to individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis. IPD meta-analysis showed that higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower levels of peer problems, and higher levels of psychological well-being, better self-perception/body image, and school related well-being. Overall, the effect-sizes were small and the associations did not differ significantly between very preterm and term born adolescents. Future research may examine the mechanisms behind effects of physical activity on mental health and wellbeing in adolescence as well as which type of physical activity might be most beneficial for term and preterm born children.

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Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 18
Issue: 4
Article number: 1735
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18041735
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The research was funded by the New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe (NORFACE), Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course Program (DIAL; grant no. 462-16-040). The Basel Study of Preterm Children was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Projects: Sleep, cognitive, and socio-emotional development in preterm children during middle and late childhood, grant no. 143962; Socio-emotional development and mental health of pre- term children: The role of HPA axis function, sleep, neuroplasticity, and physical exercise during the transition to adolescence, grant no. 159362). The funding sources had no involvement in study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, the writing of the manuscript, and the submission process.
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (