Teens cool off from sports with each succeeding winter

March 31, 2009

Although winter's grasp has subsided to spring, its effects could have a long term impact on the exercise patterns of teenagers. According to a five-year study published in the Annals of Epidemiology, while teens are generally more active in warmer months, significant drops in physical activity during winter months contributes to a general slowdown in exercise habits throughout adolescence that could persist over time.

Study investigators - from the Centre de Formation Médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick of the Université de Moncton and Université de Sherbrooke, the Université de Montréal and McGill University - counter that declines in could be offset by promoting a diversity of physical activities including those that can be enjoyed during winter.

"While physical activity augments in spring and summer, these increases do not compensate for winter drop offs, which contribute to declining physical activity throughout adolescence," says Mathieu Bélanger, lead author of the study, research director at the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick and epidemiologist at the Centre de recherche Beausejour. "Throughout our five-year study, the average daily number of physical activity sessions among participants decreased by nearly one third. The sharpest declines occurred during the coldest months."

As part of the study, 1293 students initially aged 12 to 13 years were monitored from grade 7 to grade 11. Participants were recruited from 10 schools in the Montreal area and were asked to report involvement in physical activity over different seasons. Results were then compared to weather data from Environment Canada.

"Poor weather is one of the most frequently reported barriers to the practice of physical activity," says Jennifer O'Loughlin a researcher from the Université de Montréal's department of social and preventive medicine Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal.

"In this study we found weather conditions did affect participation in physical activities, but the effects of climate were very modest, suggesting the impact of seasons on physical activity is not solely related to weather changes," says O'Loughlin.

Bélanger and colleagues hypothesised that weather curtailed spontaneous and unplanned physical activities among teens, since adolescents favour structured activities. What's more, planned activities unfold to preset schedules and are less likely to be cancelled because of inclement weather.

The research team advises that winter activities of all types be promoted to curb drops in physical activity among teens. "We are not advocating that indoor physical activities be preferred to outdoor activities, simply that efforts be made to ensure that a variety of activities be available during winter," cautions Bélanger.

More information: Annals of Epidemiology: www.annalsofepidemiology.org/

Source: University of Montreal (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Study finds 275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures from 2000 through 2012

July 24, 2017
U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call every 24 minutes, on average, regarding dietary supplement exposures, according to a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, ...

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.