Examining the relationship between sport and health among USA women: An analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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Background Research has been conducted linking sports participation and health in childhood and adolescence; however, little is known about the contribution of sport to women's health. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sport and women's health in the USA by analyzing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Methods This study was a secondary data analysis of the 2013 national BRFSS survey. Unlike the BRFSS core component from previous years, in 2013, participants were questioned extensively about their physical activity behaviors. Seventy-six different activities were identified by the participants. Two researchers categorized the 76 activities as sport, conditioning exercise, recreation, or household tasks based on previously identified categories. Logistic regression was utilized to calculate odds ratios and adjusted odds ratios for chronic diseases based on physical activity category. Results Women who participated in sport had better health outcomes with significantly lower odds for all chronic diseases except asthma and better general health than women who participated in conditioning exercise, household tasks, or recreation, and many of the significant differences remained after controlling for demographic characteristics. Conclusion Sport participation was associated with more positive health outcomes among women in the USA compared with the other categories. As a means to improve health of women, the USA could focus on efforts to increase sport participation among women. © 2016


Chronic diseases; Conditioning exercise; Leisure-time physical activity; Recreation; Sport participation; Women's health

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