History of sport participation in relation to obesity and related health behaviors in women


Background. Organized sport participation in youth is a common form of physical activity; yet, little is known about how it is associated with adult obesity and related health behaviors. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a history of youth sport participation was related to adult obesity, physical activity, and dietary intake among women. Methods. Participating women (209 African American, 277 Caucasian; ages 18-39), recruited from the community, completed laboratory measures, a paper and pencil survey assessing past sport participation and current physical activity level, and dietary records. Results. Linear regression revealed that a history of sport participation predicted lower adult body mass index and higher total and sport activity levels for both ethnic groups and higher work-related physical activity among Caucasians (all P < 0.001). Past sports participation did not predict dietary intake. Conclusions. The results suggest that girls' participation in sports may lay the foundation for adult health and health behaviors and that sports participation could be an important component of obesity prevention programs. © 2002 American Health Foundation and Elsevier Science.

Publication Title

Preventive Medicine