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Scholar sports participation according to age and sex of students from urban public schools
  1. A Marques,
  2. J Martins,
  3. F C da Costa
  1. Avenida das Descobertas, 37, 6°B, 2670–384 Loures, Portugal


Inside schools, besides physical education (PE) classes, scholar sports (SS) represent a good opportunity for students to be involved with physical activities (PA). In Portugal almost all schools promote extracurricular sports activities and students have the opportunity to engage in formal PA free of charge, oriented by a PE teacher. The purpose of this study was to examine the sex and age differences in SS participation of students from an urban area, and the association of SS and attitudes toward school and PE. A total of 1214 boys (age 13±2 years) and 1254 girls (age 13±2 years), participated in the study. The students were grouped in age categories of 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18 years. Questionnaires were used for data collection. To analyse the differences in SS participation according to age the t test was used, and to compare sexes in each age group the authors used χ2. Cramer's V correlations were applied to identify the relationships between SS participation and attitudes toward school and PE. 18.4% of boys and 17.6% of girls reported to have participated in SS. Younger boys did not participate more than older boys in SS (t(1212)=−0.123, p=0.902). Among girls the mean age of participants was slightly, but not significantly, higher than that of nonparticipants (t(355 096)=1.441, p=0.150). Comparing both sexes, the only significant differences were in the 10-12 age group (χ2(1)=4.634, p=0.031), with boys participating more than girls. In the other age groups, boys and girls had similar levels of SS participation. A positive and significant correlation was observed between SS and attitude toward PE in boys (r=0.100; p=0.016), and girls (r=0.221; p<0.001), but it was not strong. No correlation was found between SS and attitude toward school. Considering that attending school is mandatory, the levels of SS participation were very low. The results suggest that SS is a good tool to determine differences between sexes, and to improve older girls PA participation. Though the strength of the correlation between SS and attitude toward PE was weak, it seems that developing a positive attitude toward PE could improve SS participation, which would be an important factor in increasing students' general levels of PA practice.

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