Sports practice from childhood to adolescence: behavior patterns and associated factors

Abstract Aim: To analyze the prevalence of sports practice patterns from childhood to adolescence, and to verify the association between sports practice and demographic factors (sex, age, and skin color), economic factors (maternal education and economic level) and current affinity for physical activities. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 1,112 adolescents (14-19 years) from southern Brazil. Sports practice patterns were composed of four combinations of sports practice from childhood to adolescence: (1) Practiced in both childhood and in adolescence; (2) Practiced in childhood but not in adolescence; (3) Did not practice in childhood but practices in adolescence; (4) Practice neither childhood nor in adolescence. Demographic, economic variables and current affinity for physical activities were evaluated by questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression was used. Results: Of adolescents who practiced sports in childhood, 45.8% maintained the practice during adolescence (higher prevalence in males) and 14.1% gave up (higher prevalence in females). Of adolescents who did not practice sports in childhood, 27.6% started during adolescence (higher prevalence in males) and 12.5% maintained their childhood behavior (higher prevalence in females). Adolescents with low economic status who did not practice sports were more likely of not practicing this in both periods. Those who reported not enjoying physical activities were more likely of giving up sports in adolescence. Conclusion: Economic level and affinity for physical activities during adolescence are associated with sports practice patterns. Skin color, age, and maternal schooling are not associated with sports practice.