Objective: To determine whether being both vigorously active and a team sports participant or being vigorously physically active but not a team member is associated with substance use and sexual risk behaviors.
Design: Cross-sectional, using data from the 1999 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Participants: A nationally representative sample of 15 349 US high school students.
Main outcome measures: Sexual risk behaviors and substance use among those who were both physically active and team sports participants, physically active but not on a sports team, physically nonactive but on a sports team, and physically nonactive and not on a sports team by sex and race/ethnicity.
Results: Nationwide, 41.9% of the students were both physically active and participants on a sports team, 22.1% were physically active but not sports team members, 12.6% were physically nonactive sports team members, and 22.3% were physically nonactive and not sports team members. More female (mean [SD], 29.3% [2.2%]) than male students (15.3% [1.9%]) were nonactive, and more male students were both physically active and participants in team sports (48.9% [3.4%]) than were female students (34.8% [3.2%]). Black students were more likely to be physically nonactive in both the team and nonteam categories than were students overall. Relative to nonactive nonteam female students, physically active female students on sports teams were less likely to be substance users or engage in sexual risk behaviors than were active nonteam and nonactive team female students. Other associations were specific to racial/ethnic subgroups.
Conclusion: Overall, being both physically active and a team sports participant was associated with a lower prevalence of several health risk behaviors.