Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 110, Issue 5, pp 616–625 | Cite as

Protective or risky? The longitudinal association of team sports participation and health-related behaviours in Canadian adolescent girls

  • Erica Y. LauEmail author
  • Negin A. Riazi
  • Wei Qian
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Guy Faulkner
Quantitative Research



Female sport participation is a prioritized action area in the 2018 Canadian federal budget for improving health and well-being. This study examined team sport participation prevalence and longitudinal associations with health-related behaviours among Canadian adolescent girls.


We analyzed data from the COMPASS study. Participants included 1978 female secondary-school students who self-reported the following information at all measurement time-points (grades 9, 10, 11, and 12): socio-demographic, team sport participation status (consistent, intermittent and non-participator), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), dietary behaviours, smoking, cannabis use and binge drinking. Linear mixed models and generalized estimating equation models were used to examine team sport participation status in association with changes in health-related behaviours across grades.


The prevalence of team sport participation declined by an average of 38.4% between grades 9 and 12. Proportions of participants being categorized as consistent, intermittent and non-participators were 25.7%, 36.4% and 37.9%, respectively. Compared to non-participators, consistent participators reported significantly greater decline in MVPA (β = − 2.77, 95% CI − 5.36, − 0.18), and the increase in odds of becoming more frequent cannabis users (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.00, 1.26) and binge drinkers (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04, 1.23) was significantly greater. Girls’ team sport participation had no significant longitudinal association with dietary behaviours and smoking status.


Team sport participation outside of school settings is risky for prospective health-related behaviours in adolescent girls. Our findings highlight the need for investing in tailored participation initiatives that also consider how to prevent harmful substance use.


Physical activity Dietary behaviours Substance use High school student 



La participation des filles et des femmes au sport est un champ d’action prioritaire d’amélioration de la santé et du bien-être dans le budget fédéral canadien de 2018. Nous avons examiné la prévalence de la participation des adolescentes canadiennes aux sports d’équipe et ses associations longitudinales avec leurs comportements de santé.


Nous avons analysé les données de l’étude COMPASS. Les répondantes étaient 1978 élèves du secondaire ayant fait état des informations suivantes à tous les points de mesure dans le temps (9e, 10e, 11e et 12e année) : données sociodémographiques, participation aux sports d’équipe (constante, intermittente et nulle), activité physique modérée à vigoureuse (APMV), comportements alimentaires, tabagisme, consommation de cannabis et consommation occasionnelle excessive d’alcool. Des modèles linéaires mixtes et des modèles d’équations d’estimation généralisées ont servi à examiner la participation aux sports d’équipe en association avec les changements dans les comportements de santé d’un niveau scolaire à l’autre.


La prévalence de la participation aux sports d’équipe diminuait en moyenne de 38,4 % entre la 9e et la 12e année. Un peu plus du quart (25,7 %) des répondantes se classaient dans la catégorie de participation constante, 36,4 % dans la catégorie de participation intermittente, et 37,9 % dans la catégorie de participation nulle. Comparativement aux non-participantes, les répondantes de la catégorie de participation constante ont fait état d’une diminution significativement plus importante de leur APMV (β = – 2,77, IC de 95 % : – 5,36, – 0,18), et présentaient une probabilité significativement plus élevée de devenir des consommatrices plus fréquentes de cannabis (RC : 1,11, IC de 95 % : 1,00, 1,26) et des buveuses excessives occasionnelles (RC : 1,13, IC de 95 % : 1,04, 1,23). La participation des filles aux sports d’équipe ne présentait aucune association longitudinale significative avec les comportements alimentaires et l’usage du tabac.


La participation aux sports d’équipe hors du milieu scolaire pose un risque pour les comportements de santé prospectifs des adolescentes. Nos constatations soulignent le besoin d’investir dans des initiatives de participation adaptées qui comportent aussi des mesures de prévention de la consommation nocive de substances.


Exercice physique Comportements alimentaires Consommation de substances Élève du secondaire 


Funding information

The COMPASS study was supported by a bridge grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD) through the “Obesity – Interventions to Prevent or Treat” priority funding awards (OOP-110788; grant awarded to S.T. Leatherdale) and an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) (MOP-114875; grant awarded to S.T. Leatherdale). Drs. Faulkner (APHC 201405CPP-329463-CPP-CEAA-138759) and Leatherdale (APHC-201405CPP-329323-116339) are Chairs in Applied Public Health Research funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada in partnership with CIHR.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Active Aging Research Team, Centre for Hip Health and MobilityUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Family Practice, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.School of Kinesiology, Faculty of EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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