The Role of Urbanicity in Youth Exercise, Sports Participation, and Perceived Barriers to These Activities
Keywords:youth sports; parent perceptions; urbanicity; youth exercise
To date, there remains only limited understanding of how the physical activities and sports participation of youth in rural, suburban, and urban areas differ and why. This study investigated differences by urbanicity in youth sports participation, parent-perceived barriers to participation, and parents’ perceptions of youth sports and exercise. Data were collected through an online survey in October 2020 of 525 Pennsylvania residents with a child ages 3 to 17 at home. Results indicated that rural and suburban youth played fewer recreational and competitive sports than their urban counterparts. Rural parents and suburban parents felt that sports were less important for youth than urban parents. They felt similarly about youth exercise. Urbanicity did not distinguish what parents perceived as barriers to their child’s sports participation or physical activity.
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