Direct and indirect associations between the family physical activity environment and sports participation among 10-12 year-old European children: testing the EnRG framework in the ENERGY project

A.F. Timperio, M.M. van Stralen, J. Brug, E. Bere, M.J. Chinapaw, I. de Bourdeaudhuij, L. Maes, Y. Manios, L.A. Moreno, J. Salmon, S.J. te Velde

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Background: Sport participation makes an important contribution to children's overall physical activity. Understanding influences on sports participation is important and the family environment is considered key, however few studies have explored the mechanisms by which the family environment influences children's sport participation. The purpose of this study was to examine whether attitude, perceived behavioural control, health belief and enjoyment mediate associations between the family environment and 10-12 year-old children's sports participation.Methods: Children aged 10-12 years ( = 7234) and one of their parents (n = 6002) were recruited from 175 schools in seven European countries in 2010. Children self-reported their weekly duration of sports participation, physical activity equipment items at home and the four potential mediator variables. Parents responded to items on financial, logistic and emotional support, reinforcement, modelling and co-participation in physical activity. Cross-sectional single and multiple mediation analyses were performed for 4952 children with complete data using multi-level regression analyses.Results: Availability of equipment (OR = 1.16), financial (OR = 1.53), logistic (OR = 1.47) and emotional (OR = 1.51) support, and parental modelling (OR = 1.07) were positively associated with participation in ≥ 30mins/wk of sport. Attitude, beliefs, perceived behavioural control and enjoyment mediated and explained between 21-34% of these associations. Perceived behavioural control contributed the most to the mediated effect for each aspect of the family environment.Conclusions: Both direct (unmediated) and indirect (mediated) associations were found between most family environment variables and children's sports participation. Thus, family-based physical activity interventions that focus on enhancing the family environment to support children's sport participation are warranted. © 2013 Timperio et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Journalinternational journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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