Daily physical activity and sports participation among children from ethnic minorities in Denmark

Glen Nielsen, Bianca El-Naaman, Anna Bugge, Magnus Dencker, Lars Bo Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate whether Danish children from immigrant backgrounds are less physically active than children from the ethnic majority, and to investigate the possible reasons for any differences found. Accelerometer measures of physical activity as well as questionnaire data about organised sports, family demography, resources and values were collected from 594 children of whom 67 had other ethnic background than Danish. Data were collected when the children were 6-7 years old and again later when the children were 9-10 years old. It was found that children from immigrant backgrounds were not less physically active than other children when their amounts of daily physical activity were measured by direct objective measures, despite their participation rate in organised sports being much lower. Using multiple logistic regression modelling, this study showed that lack of parental experience with organised sports and lack of economic/material resources explained much of the difference in sports participation. Children of immigrant background had significant lower participation in club sports but this did not affect their overall physical activity level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Accelerometry
  • children
  • ethnicity
  • health
  • inequality
  • physical activity
  • resources
  • sports participation
  • Humans
  • Emigrants and Immigrants/statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Ethnic Groups/classification
  • Social Class
  • Social Participation
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Resource Allocation/statistics & numerical data
  • Child Welfare/ethnology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sports/statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Population Surveillance


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