Shyness, Physical Activity, and Sports Team Participation among Philippine High School Students

By Page, Randy M.; Zarco, Emilia Patricia | Child Study Journal, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Shyness, Physical Activity, and Sports Team Participation among Philippine High School Students


Page, Randy M., Zarco, Emilia Patricia, Child Study Journal


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between shyness and two indicators of physical activity (vigorous physical activity and sports team participation) among a sample of approximately 3,000 Philippine high school students. Results showed that in general Philippine students reported less physical activity than U.S. students have reported on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Filipino students who scored high on shyness participated in vigorous physical activity significantly less often than those who scored within average or low ranges on shyness. Also, students who scored high on shyness were less likely to play on sports teams. Cultural differences associated with these findings are discussed.

Physical inactivity among young people is a serious cause for concern. A pattern of inactivity may persist throughout youth and into adulthood. Physically inactive individuals are likely to miss out on the many health benefits enjoyed by those who are physically fit (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). To increase the likelihood of these health benefits, the International Consensus Conference on Physical Activity Guidelines for Adolescents recommends that healthy adolescents be physically active daily, or nearly every day (Sallis & Patrick, 1994). The guidelines specifically stress that adolescents engage in three or more activity sessions per week lasting 20 minutes or more, and requiring moderate to vigorous levels of exertion. Physical activity should be part of play, games, sports, work, transportation, recreation, physical education, or planned exercise in the context of family, school, and community activities.

Data on the physical activity patterns of Filipino youths and Filipinos in general is very limited. The Philippine Department of Health (1999) mentions in its National Objectives for Health, 1999-2004 "only a handful of Filipinos engage in light to moderate physical activity at least 30 minutes a day three times a week" and "various physical fitness tests among Filipino school children revealed poor to fair level of cardiovascular fitness" (p.191). The National Health and Demographic Survey reported that 29% of individuals six years of age and above engage in light to moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day three times a week (National Statistics Office, 1998). The Philippine National Objectives for Health, 1999-2004 report emphasizes that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) became the leading cause of death in the last decade of the twentieth century and that one of the factors accounting for the increase of CVD in the Philippines is sedentary lifestyle. As a result, a national objective has bee n set to increase the proportion of individuals engaging in light to moderate physical activity at least 30 minutes per day three times a week to 60%. No specific objectives for children or adolescents regarding physical activity were established.

Studies in the United States have identified several demographic, individual, interpersonal, and environmental factors associated with physical activity among children and adolescents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Yet, a neglected area of investigation is the association of shyness with physical activity and sports team participation. To date, only a few studies have addressed this specific area (Page & Hammermeister, 1995; Page & Tucker, 1994). In these studies of American adolescents, higher shyness scores were associated with not exercising and infrequent exercising. The present study was conducted to determine whether a similar association exists among a sample of Philippine high school students. It was hypothesized that Philippine adolescents who score high on shyness will report lower frequency of physical activity and sports team participation than those who score in average and low ranges on shyness.

Methods

Subjects

High school students from eight schools located in the Philippines comprise the sample for this study. …

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