Between-school variation in physical activity, aerobic fitness, and organized sports participation: A multi-level analysis

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Abstract

Abstract A large proportion of a child's day is spent at school interacting with certain physical surroundings, teachers, and school friends. Thus, schools could have a marked impact on establishing physical activity habits. The aim of the present study was to assess between-school variation in physical activity, aerobic fitness, and organized sports participation. Altogether, we tested 1766 nine- and fifteen-year-old children attending 242 school classes at 35 different schools in Denmark in 1997-2003. The intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) for objectively assessed physical activity ranged between 0.06 and 0.18 depending on the dimension of physical activity and the time considered (i.e. school time vs. leisure time). For aerobic fitness, an ICC of 0.10 was observed, whereas that for organized sports participation ranged between 0.01 and 0.10 depending on the age group. Studying between-school variation in physical activity provides information about the extent to which children adjust their physical activity habits according to the social and environmental circumstances that they share, and helps to plan future school-based physical activity studies, especially in terms of sample size and power calculation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume31
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)188-195
ISSN0264-0414
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Adolescent Child Cluster Analysis Denmark *Exercise Female Humans Male *Motor Activity Physical Fitness/*physiology *Schools *Sports
  • physical fitness
  • cluster analysis
  • Schools
  • physical activity
  • Physical Fitness/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Exercise
  • Adolescent
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Sports

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