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Longitudinal associations between sports participation, body composition and physical activity from childhood to adolescence

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura BasterfieldORCiD, Jessica Reilly, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Dr Kathryn Parkinson, Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD


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Objectives: Several important research questions have been addressed: (1) What are the cross-sectional associations between sports club participation, objectively measured physical activity, and adiposity? (2) Do measures of physical activity and adiposity predict subsequent sports club participation? (3) Does sports club participation predict subsequent measures of physical activity and adiposity? and (4) Do changes in sports club participation predict changes in objective measures of physical activity and adiposity?Design: Longitudinal and cross-sectional. Methods: Data from the Gateshead Millennium Study birth cohort (n = 609 at age 7 years) were analysed for associations between adiposity, sports club participation and accelerometer-measured physical activity from ages 7y to 9y to 12y. Results: Seventy-two per cent of 9 year olds and 63% of 12 year olds took part in a sports club. Sports club participation was significantly associated with overall accelerometer-measured physical activity at 12y (coefficient = 0.0.09; 95% CI: 0.01–0.16) but not 9y. An inverse relationship between fat mass (estimated from bioelectric impedance) and sport club participation, and between fat mass and accelerometer-measured physical activity was observed at 12y, but not 9y. Sports club participation at 9y was highly predictive of participation at 12y. Sports club participation was significantly associated with socioeconomic status; fewer children from poorer areas took part. Conclusions: Sports club participation in adolescence may be associated with decreased levels of adiposity. Furthermore, the potential benefits of sports club participation for adiposity are likely generated from continuous participation in sports, rather than any long-term protective effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Basterfield L, Reilly JK, Pearce MS, Parkinson KN, Adamson AJ, Reilly JJ, Vella SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

Year: 2015

Volume: 18

Issue: 2

Pages: 178-182

Print publication date: 01/03/2015

Online publication date: 15/03/2014

Acceptance date: 06/03/2014

ISSN (print): 1440-2440

ISSN (electronic): 1878-1861

Publisher: Elsevier Australia


DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.03.005


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