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  • Author: Cristina Padez x
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Daniela Rodrigues, Cristina Padez and Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues

Background: Identifying parental perceived barriers might contribute to strategies to promote physical activity in children. This study aimed to observe parental perceived barriers for 6- to 10-year-old children’s participation in organized sports and understand to what extent the socioeconomic status, the place of residence, and children’s sex, age, and sport participation affect those perceived barriers. Methods: Data were collected from 834 parents of 6- to 10-year-old children living in the Portuguese Midlands, using a multiple-choice questionnaire. Parents reported the perceived barriers to children’s sport activities, such as time, health, transportation, costs, safety, facilities, weather, tiredness, and lack of interest. Children’s and sociodemographic characteristics were also collected. Results: Time and costs were the most reported barriers by parents. Barriers to access were mostly reported by parents of girls and younger children, parents of inactive children, and families living in an urban setting and in socioeconomic disadvantage. Perceived barriers differed according to both children’s and sociodemographic characteristics, highlighting the need to reduce costs and increase the variety of sports/facilities, particularly in families with girls, younger children, and those with lower incomes from more urbanized areas. Conclusions: The present findings should be considered in future planning and interventions to effectively promote physical activity in children.

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Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues, Neiva Leite, Manuel J. Coelho e Silva, João Valente-dos-Santos, Raul A. Martins, Luis PG Mascarenhas, Margaret CS Boguszewski, Cristina Padez and Robert M. Malina


Associations of metabolic syndrome (MetS) with lifestyle behaviors in youth is potentially important for identifying subgroups at risk and encourage interventions. This study evaluates the associations among the clustering of metabolic risk factors and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in youth.


The sample comprised 522 girls and 402 boys (N = 924) aged 11 to 17 years. Height, weight, waist circumference (WC), fasting glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressures were measured. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was assessed using the 20-m shuttle run test. MVPA was estimated with a 3-day diary. Outcome variables were statistically normalized and expressed as z scores. A clustered metabolic risk score was computed as the mean of z scores. Multiple linear regression was used to test associations between metabolic risk and MVPA by sex, adjusted for age, WC, and CRF.


After adjustment for potential confounders, MVPA was inversely associated with the clustering of metabolic risk factors in girls, but not in boys; in addition, after adjusting for WC, the statistical model of that relationship was substantially improved in girls.


MVPA was independently associated with increased risk of MetS in girls. Additional efforts are needed to encourage research with different analytical approach and standardization of criteria for MetS in youth.