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Keywords:

  • physical activity;
  • adolescents;
  • exercise benefits;
  • exercise barriers

Abstract

Perceived benefits of and barriers to physical activity (PA) reported by 206 middle school boys and girls in a survey were compared. Only “take care of myself, stay in shape, and be healthier” emerged as a greater benefit for girls than boys. Among students not on a sports team, boys reported fewer barriers than girls. Among those selecting an active pursuit, boys perceived more barriers than girls. When controlling for sports team participation and perceived benefits and barriers, boys reported more minutes of vigorous PA than girls. As boys and girls reported relatively similar benefits of and barriers to PA, nurse counseling with both groups can focus on the same information. Effort is particularly needed to increase PA among girls. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 32:163–176, 2009