Variation in Sport Participation, Fitness and Motor Coordination With Socioeconomic Status Among Flemish Children

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Joric B. Vandendriessche Ghent University

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Barbara F.R. Vandorpe Ghent University

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Roel Vaeyens Ghent University

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Robert M. Malina University of Texas at Austin

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Johan Lefevre KU Leuven

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Matthieu Lenoir Ghent University

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Renaat M. Philippaerts Ghent University

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Socioeconomic status (SES) is often indicated as a factor that influences physical activity and associated health outcomes. This study examined the relationship between SES and sport participation, morphology, fitness and motor coordination in a sample of 1955 Flemish children 6–11 years of age. Gender, age and SES-specific values for morphologic dimensions, amount and type of sport participation and fitness and motor coordination tests were compared. SES was positively and significantly associated with sport participation and sports club membership in both sexes. Although differences were not consistently significant, morphologic dimensions and tests of fitness and motor coordination showed a trend in favor of children from higher SES. The results suggest that public and local authorities should consider providing equal opportunities for children in all social strata and especially those in the lower SES to experience the beneficial effects of sport participation through which they can enhance levels of physical fitness and motor coordination.

Vandendriessche, Vandorpe, Vaeyens, Lenoir, and Philippaerts are with the Dept. of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Malina is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, and Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX. Lefevre is with the Dept. of Biomedical Kinesiology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

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