International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 548–557 | Cite as

Context Matters: Examining Perceived Health and Fitness Outcomes of Physical Activity Participation Among South Korean Adults and Youth

  • Kimberley D. CurtinEmail author
  • Eun-Young Lee
  • Lira Yun
  • John C. Spence



To examine associations between physical activity contexts and health and fitness perceptions among Korean adults and youth.


Data were from the Korean Survey on Citizens’ Sports Participation in 2015. Korean youth (N = 832; Mage = 14.7) and adults (N = 6719; Mage = 41.3) were included in the hierarchical logistic and linear regressions. Youth physical activity was examined in school-based (i.e., school-based and after-school/Saturday school sports) and out of school (i.e., organized sports) settings. Adults who met the World Health Organization (WHO) physical activity guidelines or not, and participated in structured (e.g., sport) and unstructured (e.g., walking) physical activity were compared. The outcome variables were self-reported health and fitness. Gender interactions between physical activity and all outcomes were examined for the adult sample only.


No associations existed between physical activity and perceived health or fitness among youth. Adults who met the WHO guidelines, or participated in structured physical activity showed higher odds of reporting good health. Unstructured physical activity was associated with lower odds of reporting good health. Positive perceptions of fitness were more likely to be reported by males who met physical activity guidelines compared to females.


For youth, the potential benefit of physical activity, regardless of contexts, may be more apparent for psychological health than perceived physical health, and school should be used as a venue to promote physical activity. For adults, structured physical activity and achieving the WHO physical activity guidelines may be suggested for perceptions of overall health.


School Setting Organized Unorganized Exercise 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study protocol was approved by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in 2015 and was conducted in accordance with the Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Participants, as defined by the Helsinki Declaration. Informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, 1-141 University HallUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.School of Kinesiology and Health StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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