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Background:

The present study considered age- and sex-associated variation in sports participation (SP) in Portuguese youth.

Method:

A national survey of 12,568 students, ages 10 to 18 y, was conducted. Two items of the Baecke et al. (1982) questionnaire that deal with SP were considered. Logistic regression and factorial ANOVA were used.

Results:

The prevalence of SP is greater in males than females. Mean sport scores increased in both sexes from ages 10 to 18 y. Soccer was the most practiced sport among males, while swimming and soccer were the most practiced sports among females. Males participated in SP >5 hours per week compared to 1 to 2 hours per week in females. High-intensity sports were more prevalent among males, while sports of mid-level intensity were more prevalent among females. The majority of youth participate in sport more than 9 months of the year.

Conclusion:

SP is an important component of physical activity among Portuguese youth and has a relatively stable prevalence between ages 10 to 18 y.

Seabra and Maia are with Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; Mendonça is with the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, ICBAS, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; Thomis is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Biomedical Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Malina is with Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, United States of America.