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Karen E. Johnson, Martha Y. Kubik and Barbara J. McMorris

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusion:

Results suggest that efforts to increase sports team participation among AHS students should target social-environmental factors. Further study is warranted.