Changes in sport and physical activity participation for adolescent females: a longitudinal study Academic Article uri icon


  • Participation in sport and physical activity is reported to decline during adolescence, particularly for females. However we do not have a clear understanding of changes in the context (i.e., modes and settings) of participation throughout adolescence. This study investigated longitudinal changes in physical activity participation and the specific modes and settings of physical activity, together with cross-sectional comparisons, for two age cohorts of female adolescents.Survey of 729 adolescent girls (489 recruited in Year 7 and 243 in Year 11). Participation in eight different modes/settings was reported. PA was measured using 24-h recall diary and metabolic equivalent weighted energy expenditure (MET-min) in Leisure Time Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity (LTMVPA) on the previous day was calculated.There were no significant changes in duration or total MET-min of LTMVPA on previous day. However, there were significant changes in the modes/settings of participation across time. Participation in school physical education rose during early adolescence before decreasing significantly, and participation in competitive sport and club sport significantly decreased over time; however there were increases in non-competitive forms of physical activity.Overall levels of physical activity did not significantly decrease over adolescence, which is positive for physical health. However, the transition from structured sport to non-organised physical activity may effect social and psychological health, which needs to be further examined.

publication date

  • 2016