Why Are Girls Less Physically Active than Boys? Findings from the LOOK Longitudinal Study Rohan M. Telford1*, Richard D. Telford2,3, Lisa S. Olive4, Thomas Cochrane1, Rachel Davey1 1 Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, Health Research Institute, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 2 Medical School, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 3 Research Institute for Sport and Exercise, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 4 Department of Psychology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia * [email protected]
Abstract OPEN ACCESS Citation: Telford RM, Telford RD, Olive LS, Cochrane T, Davey R (2016) Why Are Girls Less Physically Active than Boys? Findings from the LOOK Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150041. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150041
Background A gender-based disparity in physical activity (PA) among youth, whereby girls are less active than boys is a persistent finding in the literature. A greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying this difference has potential to guide PA intervention strategies.
Editor: Maciej Buchowski, Vanderbilt University, UNITED STATES Received: July 22, 2015 Accepted: February 8, 2016 Published: March 9, 2016 Copyright: © 2016 Telford et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Data Availability Statement: Data are from the ACT Health Human Research Ethics Committee for researchers who meet the criteria for access to confidential data. To request data, contact August Marchesi at [email protected]
. Funding: This study was funded by the Commonwealth Education Trust, http://www. commonwealth.org.uk/. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Methods Data were collected at age 8 and 12 years (276 boys, 279 girls) from 29 schools as part of the LOOK study. Multilevel linear models were fitted separately for boys and girls to examine effects of individual, family and environmental level correlates on pedometer measured PA. Cardio-respiratory fitness (multi-stage run), percent fat (DEXA), eye-hand coordination (throw and catch test) and perceived competence in physical education (questionnaire) were used as individual level correlates. At the family level, parent’s support and education (questionnaire) were used. School attended and extracurricular sport participation were included as environmental level correlates.
Results Girls were 19% less active than boys (9420 vs 11360 steps/day, p