Influence of Sports and Physical Activity Programs on the Activity of High School Youths and Young Adults
Berei, Catherine, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
What Was the Question?
The purpose of the study (Fuller, Sabiston, Karp, Barnett, & O'Loughlin, 2011) was to examine whether secondary school intramural and interscholastic sports and physical activity (PA) programs are associated with physical activity levels in high school youths and young adults.
What Was Done?
Researchers employed a weekly activity checklist to collect data on the number of PA sessions each participant engaged in per week. The study collected baseline data from 808 participants, using classroom-administered self-report questionnaires when participants were in their first year of secondary school (12-13 years of age). A convenience sample of 10 Montreal-area secondary schools was used for the study. Throughout the next five years, follow-up data were collected every three months. A final data collection survey was administered to each participant at age 20. The principals and vice-principals of the participating schools completed a checklist in the third year of the study to collect data on the estimated number of intramural and extramural sports opportunities available within each school.
What Was Found?
The results revealed that participants attending schools with many intramural sports reported higher levels of vigorous PA than participants who attended schools with fewer intramural sports. This finding was present regardless of whether or not participants personally engaged in the intramural sports program. Researchers also found no association between opportunities for extramural sports and participants' level of PA. It is interesting that a third finding, independent of available intramural or extramural sports opportunities, was that all adolescent participants reported a marked decline in PA levels between the ages of 13 and 20.
What Does the Study Mean?
Although not congruent with the findings for extramural sport programs, the results do suggest that secondary schools should include intramural sports and PA programs to provide opportunities for students to be physically active. …