Physical Activity, Life Satisfaction, and Self-Rated Health of Middle School Students
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Little research has examined the association between life satisfaction, self-rated health (SRH), and physical activity concurrently for middle school students. A convenience sample of 245 students in grades 7 and 8 was surveyed about physical activity, life satisfaction, and SRH using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2005 Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. ANOVA analyses revealed significantly reduced life satisfaction for females who reported not engaging in vigorous physical activity during the past 7 days [p < .01, effect size (ES) = .75]. Significantly reduced life satisfaction was detected for both males (p < .001, ES = .66) and females (p < .0001, ES = .80) who reported not playing on sports teams. Additionally, logistic regression analyses showed the odds of reporting fair/poor SRH increased 5.4 times for males (CI = 1.30–22.39, p < .05) and 30.9 times for females (CI = 3.74–255.43, p < .001) who reported not playing on sports teams. Preliminary findings suggest physical activity and sports participation is associated with improved life satisfaction and SRH for middle school students. In addition, although some gender differences were observed, consistent findings for sports participation suggest sports participation may carry multiple social, mental, and physical benefits for youth.