Correlates of Participation in Sports and Physical Activities among Indigenous Youth


  • Piotr Wilk Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Paediatrics, Western University, Kresge Building, Room K201, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, N6A 5C1
  • Alana Maltby Department of Epidemiology, Western University, Kresge Building, Room K201, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, N6A 5C1
  • Martin Cooke School of Public Health and Healthy Systems, University of Waterloo, PAS 2040, 200 University Ave West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
  • Janice Forsyth School of Kinesiology, Western University, Somerville House, Room 2360-C, 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, N6A 5B9



sport, physical activity, Indigenous, youth, Canada


Several correlates of Indigenous youth participation in sport and/or physical activities (S/PA) have been recognized; however, there is a paucity of research on the relative importance of these predictors, especially those related to the context in which the youth’s physical activities take place. The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to explore the correlates of participation in S/PA among off-reserve Indigenous youth. Using data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), our analysis was limited to those between the ages of 12 and 17 who were attending elementary or high school and were identified as having a single Indigenous identity (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit [N=4,790]). Using logistic regression, we first assessed unadjusted the effects of each of the correlates on participation in S/PA. We then examined the magnitude of the independent effects of these correlates, controlling for the effects of others. Sampling weights and bootstrap weights were used to account for the multi-stage sampling design employed in the 2012 APS. The results of the multivariate analysis suggest that, controlling for other correlates, youth’s sex, age, health status, drinking behaviour, participation in Indigenous cultural activities and volunteering in community, as well as parental involvement in school activities, strength of family ties, and living in a lone-parent family had statistically significant effects on participation in S/PA. Further research should explore the relationships between these correlates using meditational models to better understand the nature of their effects on participation in S/PA at this age.