Background: The relationship between socioeconomic position (SEP) and adolescent physical activity is uncertain, as most evidence is limited to specific settings and a restricted number of SEP indicators. This study aimed to assess the magnitude of socioeconomic differences in adolescent vigorous physical activity (VPA) across various European countries using a wide range of SEP indicators, including family-based (education, family affluence, perceived social standing, parents’ employment, housing tenure) and adolescent-based (academic performance and pocket money) ones. Methods: We used data from a survey among 10,510 students aged 14–17 from 50 schools in six European cities: Namur (BE), Tampere (FI), Hannover (DE), Latina (IT), Amersfoort (NL), Coimbra (PT). The questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics and the amount of time spent in VPA. Results: The mean time spent practicing VPA was 60.4 min per day, with lower values for Namur (BE) and Latina (IT), and higher values for Amersfoort (NL). In the multivariable analysis, both categories of SEP indicators (family-based and adolescent based indicators) were independently associated with VPA. For each SEP indicator, lower levels of VPA were recorded in lower socioeconomic groups. In the total sample, each additional category of low SEP was associated with a decrease in mean VPA of about 4 min per day. Conclusions: This study showed that across European cities adolescent VPA is positively related to both family-based SEP and adolescents’ own SEP. When analysing socioeconomic differences in adolescent VPA, one should consider the use of multiple indicators of SEP.
- Socioeconomic position
- Vigorous physical activity