Abstract: Extracurricular sport has the potential to increase total physical activity (PA) which plays an important role in the prevention of a number of health problems, including obesity. However, most children do not achieve the recommended guidelines. Sport participation may be influenced by a number of factors, but little is known how those risk factors may vary according to children’s sex and place of residence. A cross-sectional study was done in 2013-2014. The sample comprised 793 children aged 6-10 years, and 834 parents, living in an urban (Coimbra) and a non-urban (Lousã) setting, both situated in central Portugal. Data was collected by questionnaires, interviews and anthropometric measurements. This study shows that participation in sport is associated with both intrapersonal and social factors, and that those factors may varied according to the level of urbanization. Boys and girls participate in sport in similar rates, but efforts should be made to change the notions that parents and children have about sport. By identifying barriers in different domains, this study reinforces that actions to promote PA are most effective when they enable alterations in different factors and include multiple levels of influence, starting in the nuclear family, but including teachers, schools, and government policies.
Coordinator (PI): Daniela Rodrigues (CIAS)
Supervisors: Cristina Padez (as Supervisor, CIAS) and Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues (as Co-supervisor, CIAS)
Funding: FCT (Portuguese national funding agency for science, research and technology) under POCH funding