Identifying children who are susceptible to dropping out from physical activity and sport: a cross-sectional study


Sao Paulo Med. J.




ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Although the benefits of physical activity are clear, adherence to physical activity programs is a challenge, especially during transitional phases of life. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify adolescents who were more likely to drop out from physical activity and sports participation, from childhood to adolescence. DESIGN AND SETTING: This was a cross-sectional study on retrospective data regarding childhood activity among 803 Brazilian adolescents. The study was conducted at public schools in Londrina, Paraná, in 2011. METHODS: Habitual physical activity, sports participation during childhood, parental physical activity, socioeconomic status and perception of social relationships were self-reported. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated via a 20-m shuttle-run test and somatic maturation was estimated from the age at peak height velocity. RESULTS: Our results provided evidence that girls (physical activity: odds ratio, OR: 4.37 [95% confidence interval, CI: 1.86-10.3]; sports: OR: 2.65 [95% CI: 1.39-5.05]) and adolescents with low cardiorespiratory fitness (physical activity: OR: 1.77 [95% CI: 1.13-2.78]; sports: OR: 1.62 [95% CI: 1.15-2.26]) were more likely to drop out from active behaviors. Children with inactive mothers and inactive fathers (OR: 3.55 [95% CI: 1.12-11.3]) also showed a higher dropout rate from physical activity. Adolescents with negative perceptions of friendships (OR: 2.33 [95% CI: 1.21-4.47]) were more likely to drop out from sports. CONCLUSIONS: Higher dropout rates from active lifestyles during childhood were observed among girls and adolescents with low cardiorespiratory fitness. Parental inactivity and negative perceptions of friendships were also potential risk factors for discontinuation of childhood physical activity and sports.

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