The aim of this study was to investigate how participation in organized competitive youth sport predicts adult physical activity. A random sample of 2,309 boys and girls ages 9–18 years participated in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study in 1980, and 1,606 (70%) of them again in 2001. Physical activity was measured using a short, validated questionnaire. The results showed that participation in youth sport, and persistent participation in particular, significantly predicted adult physical activity. Participation in sport competitions increased the probability of high activity in adulthood more among males than females.
Telama and Yang are with the LIKES Research Centre, Keltavuokko, 4 C, 40520 Jyvaskyla, Finland; Hirvensalo is with the Department of Physical Education, University of Jyvaskyla, 40520 Jyvaskyla, Finland; Raitakari is with the Department of Clinical Physiology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland.