A quasi-experimental examination of how changes in school-level intramurals are associated with physical activity among a sample of Canadian secondary school students from the COMPASS study
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Introduction Intramurals in schools may encourage physical activity among youth. Schools are continuously making changes to these intramurals, yet it is not well understood how these changes impact youth physical activity. The main objective of this research was to examine if changes in the number of intramurals were associated with youth physical activity over time with a secondary objective to explore the association between sport participation and physical activity among youth over time. Methods This study used three years of linked longitudinal school- and student-level data from Ontario schools in year 5 (Y5: 2016–2017), year 6 (Y6: 2017–2018) and year 7 (Y7: 2018–2019) of the COMPASS study. Data on intramurals from 55 schools were collected from the School Programs and Policies questionnaire to determine intramural changes that were made from Y5 to Y6. Using the COMPASS Student Questionnaire, baseline demographics were collected and data on physical activity and sport participation were measured at Y5, Y6 and Y7 on 4417 students. Hierarchical linear mixed regression models were used to estimate how changes in intramurals were associated with youth physical activity over time. Results Changes in school-specific intramurals were not significantly associated with physical activity over time. Intramural, varsity and community sport participation were all positively and significantly associated with youth physical activity among female and males. Conclusions Intramural, varsity and community sport participation are important opportunities for youth physical activity. Schools should offer a variety of intramural and varsity sports to encourage physical activity. Although adding intramurals may not be effective at increasing youth physical activity, they may be effective when used in combination with other strategies to increase physical activity.
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Kathleen E. Burns, Ashok Chaurasia, Valerie Carson, Scott T. Leatherdale (2021). A quasi-experimental examination of how changes in school-level intramurals are associated with physical activity among a sample of Canadian secondary school students from the COMPASS study. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18030
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