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Eur J Public Health. 2008 Feb;18(1):25-30. Epub 2007 Jun 16.

Associations between sport participation, demographic and socio-cultural factors in Portuguese children and adolescents.

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Faculty of Sports, University of Porto. Porto, Portugal.



The number of studies that focus on factors influencing the sport participation (SP) of children and adolescents is limited. The present study examines the associations between demographic [age, gender and socio-economic status (SES)] and socio-cultural factors (SP of family, and peers and physical educator influences) and the SP of children and adolescents.


A random sample of 3352 Portuguese children/adolescents, 10-18 years, their parents and siblings was surveyed. The assessment of SP was based on a psychometrically established questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression was used in data analysis.


(i) age was not related to children/adolescent's SP; (ii) children/adolescents with high SES (OR:1.7, 95%CI:1.4-2.2) and medium SES (OR:1.4, 95%CI:1.1-1.7) were more involved in sports; (iii) children/adolescents were more likely to participate in sports when their family also participate; (iv) boys were more likely to participate in sports than girls (adjusted OR:3.3, 95%CI:2.8-3.9 from a main effects model), but mother's SP influenced their daughters and sons differently. Daughters showed a greater propensity for practising sports when their mothers did (OR:2.5; 95%CI:1.7-3.6). For sons, sports involvement was similar whether or not their mothers participated (OR:1.1; 95%CI:0.7-1.7); (v) peers had a positive influence on the participants' SP (OR:2.2, 95%CI:1.9-2.7); (vi) after adjusting for other factors, the influence of a physical education teacher was not found to affect the SP of the children/adolescents.


There are important demographic and socio-cultural influences on the SP of children/adolescents-in particular, gender, SES, family members' SP and peer influence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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