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Sport Sampling in Children Tied to More Exercise in Adolescence

More likely than early sport specializers, nonparticipants to play recreational sports later

young soccer players

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Sport sampling in childhood may be associated with higher physical activity (PA) levels during adolescence, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in Pediatrics.

François Gallant, from Université de Sherbrooke in Canada, and colleagues surveyed 756 participants (aged 10 to 11 years at study enrollment) every four months over a five-year period regarding their participation in organized and unorganized PA. Youth were categorized as early sport samplers, early sport specializers, or nonparticipants in year 1 and as recreational sport participants, performance sport participants, or nonparticipants in years 2 to 5.

The researchers found that compared with early sport specialization and nonparticipation, early sport sampling in childhood was associated with a higher likelihood of recreational participation (relative risk, 1.55; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 2.03) and a lower likelihood of nonparticipation (relative risk, 0.69; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.51 to 0.93) in adolescence. In contrast, early sport specialization was associated with a higher likelihood of performance participation (relative risk, 1.65; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.19 to 2.28) but was not associated with nonparticipation (relative risk, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.47) in adolescence. Nonparticipation in childhood was associated with almost a doubled likelihood of nonparticipation in adolescence (relative risk, 1.88; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.36 to 2.62).

"Sport sampling should be promoted in childhood because it may be linked to higher PA levels during adolescence," conclude the authors.

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