Alternative high school (AHS) students have low levels of physical activity (PA) and high rates of overweight/obesity. Sports team participation, a specific form of PA, is associated with increased PA and decreased overweight/obesity in general adolescent populations. However, little is known about the prevalence and correlates of sports team participation among AHS students.
In 2006, students (n = 145; mean age = 17 years; 52% male; 61% minorities; 64% low-income) attending 6 AHS in Minneapolis/St. Paul completed self-administered surveys. Mixed model logistic regression was used to examine cross-sectional associations between sports team participation and school staff support for PA, friend support for PA, and perceived barriers to PA.
Among students, 40% participated on ≥ 1 sports teams. Odds of participating on a sports team were positively associated with support for PA from school staff (OR = 1.12, P = .014) and friends (OR = 1.15, P = .005), but inversely associated with perceived barriers to PA (OR = 0.95, P = .014).
Results suggest that efforts to increase sports team participation among AHS students should target social-environmental factors. Further study is warranted.
The authors are with the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.