Past-Year Sports Participation, Current Physical Activity, and Fitness in Urban Adolescent Girls

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

This study examined associations between sports participation, physical activity, fitness level, and body mass index in ninth-grade girls.

Methods:

Data were analyzed for 221 participants who completed sports participation and physical activity recall questionnaires, an aerobic step test, and height and weight measurement.

Results:

On average, participants had low physical activity levels, and many were overweight or obese (47%). About half participated in at least one organized sport in the previous year. Sports participants had higher current estimated energy expenditure compared with non-sports participants (P = .0007). Those who participated on at least two teams were more likely to complete the three-stage step test without reaching their target heart rate than those who did not participate on any teams (P < .03). Past sports participation was positively associated with current physical activity and fitness levels.

Conclusion:

Urban adolescent girls who participate in sports have increased energy expenditure and higher fitness levels, indicating sports as a potential strategy to improve physical activity and health in this population.

The authors are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.

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