Social support of family and friends for the practice of physical activity of adolescents: a systematic review

Abstract Background Social support has been reported as an important predictor for the practice and maintenance of behaviors related to physical activity among adolescents. Objective The objective of this study is to analyze scientific evidence that addresses the associations between social support of family, parents and friends for the practice of physical activity of adolescents. Method We selected articles published in Portuguese or English, that were indexed until January 2017, with adolescents aged between 14 and 19 years, transverse and longitudinal originals inserted in PubMed, SCOPUS, Scielo and Lilacs databases. Among the 3268 studies identified in the search, and after the stages of article selection, 27 met the inclusion criteria and were entirety analyzed. Results The studies were published in the last decade and carried out in different countries. Social support was related to physical activity, both in transverse and longitudinal studies. In these studies, it was found that adolescents who received greater general social support, as well as support from parents, friends and relatives, showed higher levels of physical activity practice. Conclusion Social support is an important factor associated with the level of physical activity practice in adolescents. Thus, programs to promote physical activity should be directed not only to adolescents but also to the social network that surrounds them.