Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 60–64 | Cite as

The Effect of Social Support and School- and Community-based Sports on Youth Physical Activity

  • Andrew R. Kurc
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
Quantitative Research



To examine how social support, participation in intramurals, varsity and community sports are associated with physical activity among Ontario secondary school students, and explore gender differences in the prevalence of physical activity and participation in school- and community-based sports.


Data from 25,416 students (grades 9-12) attending 76 Ontario secondary schools were collected using the School Health Action, Planning, and Evaluation System (SHAPES). Logistic regression analyses examined how social support and school- and community-based sports participation were associated with physical activity.


Males and females with low social support for physical activity were less likely to be active than their lower-risk peers (males: OR 0.61; females: OR 0.72). Males and females were more likely to be active if they participated in intramural activities (males: OR 1.92; females: OR 1.55), varsity sports (males: OR 1.93; females: OR 1.77), or community sports (males: OR 2.84; females: OR 2.90).


Since students with low social support for physical activity were less likely to be active, interventions to increase support and engagement in physical activity should be targeted to these students. In addition, considering that participation in school- and community-based sports increases the likelihood that students were active, practitioners should seek to enhance opportunities for participation in and access to these programs in order to increase the level of activity obtained by students.

Key words

Social support physical activity sedentary behaviour youth school sports schools gender 



Examiner en quoi le soutien social et la participation aux sports intra-muros, universitaires et communautaires sont associés à l’activité physique chez les élèves du secondaire de l’Ontario et étudier les sexospécificités dans la prévalence de l’activité physique et la participation aux activités sportives en milieu scolaire et communautaire.


Nous avons recueilli des données sur 25 416 élèves (9e à 12e année) fréquentant 76 écoles secondaires de l’Ontario à l’aide du Système d’intervention, de planification et d’évaluation de la santé dans les écoles (SIPÉSÉ). Au moyen d’analyses de régression logistique, nous avons examiné l’association entre le soutien social et la participation sportive en milieu scolaire et communautaire, d’une part, et l’activité physique d’autre part.


Les garçons et les filles peu encouragés à faire de l’activité physique dans leur milieu social étaient moins susceptibles d’être actifs que leurs pairs moins à risque (garçons: rapport de cotes [RC] = 0,61; filles: RC = 0,72). Garçons et filles étaient plus susceptibles d’être actifs s’ils participaient à des sports intra-muros (garçons: RC = 1,92; filles: RC = 1,55), universitaires (garçons: RC = 1,93; filles: RC = 1,77) ou communautaires (garçons: RC = 2,84; filles: RC = 2,90).


Étant donné que les élèves recevant peu de soutien social à l’activité physique sont moins susceptibles d’être actifs, les interventions visant à accroître le soutien et le goût pour l’activité physique devraient cibler ces élèves. De plus, comme la participation aux sports scolaires et communautaires augmente la probabilité que les élèves soient actifs, les praticiens devraient chercher à améliorer les occasions de participation et l’accès à de tels programmes afin d’accroître le niveau d’activité des élèves.

Mots clés

soutien social activité physique comportement sédentaire jeunes sport scolaire; écoles sexospécificités 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Preventive Oncology, Cancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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