Parental, socio and cultural factors associated with adolescents' sports participation in four Danish municipalities

J Toftegaard-Støckel, G A Nielsen, B Ibsen, L B Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Despite the well-documented health effects of physical activity, few studies focus on the correlates of leisure-time sports and exercise participation. The present study examined correlations between adolescent sports participation and demographic factors, socioeconomic status (SES) and sociocultural factors. A school-based cross-sectional cluster sample including 6356 Danish fifth- and ninth-grade adolescents from four municipalities were included. Age (younger) and gender (boy) were associated with adolescents' sports participation. Girls were half as likely [odds ratio (OR) 0.49 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.44-0.55] to participate in sports than boys. Adolescents were more likely to participate in sports if they perceived their parents as active in exercise or sports. Adolescents with one or two unemployed parents were 0.75 (95% CI: 0.62-0.89) and 0.75 (95% CI: 0.56-1.00), respectively, less likely to participate in sports than adolescents with two employed parents. In a gender-stratified analysis, parents' occupational status was only a predictor of sports participation in girls. Differences between municipalities in adolescents' sports participation remained significant when controlled for individual factors such as gender, age, parents' background or parents' physical activity. The association between sociocultural and SES was stronger for girls than boys. In conclusion, demographics, SES and sociocultural factors were the best determinants of adolescent sport participation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)606-11
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1. Aug 2011


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