BackgroundPhysical activity, a high-frequency health behavior, varies by where youth live, learn, and play. Youth accumulate physical activity in adult-led in-school and out-of-school settings. Youth sport is a potential setting for physical activity, but there are differences in youth sport participation based on age, gender, and socioeconomic status. There is a gap in understanding demographic influences on youth sport participation and how these factors interact to influence physical activity. This case study examines influences of grade, gender, and family income on youth sport participation and these factors and youth sport participation on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of youth in rural communities.MethodsYouth (
n=418 3rd6th graders) living in two rural communities completed the online Youth Activity Profile as part of Wellscapes, a type 3 hybrid implementation-effectiveness community randomized trial. Mixed models with community as a random effect examined main effects and interactions of grade, gender, and family income on youth sport participation and these factors and youth sport participation on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. ResultsAbout 80% of youth engaged in youth sport, and full pay lunch students were almost four times more likely to have youth sport participation than students with free/reduced lunch (OR = 3.91, 95% CI = 1.95, 7.8). Females and 6th graders ( p<0.05) had lower physical activity than comparison groups. Males with higher family income had greater physical activity; females with higher family income had less physical activity. For 6th graders, high family income had less effect on physical activity than similar 3rd-5th graders ( p<0.01). ConclusionsWhile a fairly high percentage of youth participate in youth sports, there are disparities in rural communities on youth sport participation and physical activity outcomes based on age, gender, and family income.