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Table 3 10–11 year old children's reports of the associations between physical activity and social status, and how friends help to initiate and maintain physical activity participation

From: Friendship groups and physical activity: qualitative findings on how physical activity is initiated and maintained among 10–11 year old children

Theme Summary of key items within the theme
Associations between physical activity and social group status    • Being good at sports (particularly football or "soccer") is a key status symbol for boys; boys popular at sports also seems to be a key factor in identifying leaders within the school.
     • For girls the link between physical activity and social status is less clear. For some girls being good at sports is seen as a positive status symbol, in other group poor sporting ability also has high social status.
     • The perceived gender difference in this perception was reported by both boys but participants from lower SES schools seemed to be able to articulate this difference more clearly.
Initiation of physical activity Friends provide social support to start physical activity via:
     • Co-participation in physical activity, for example by a friend taking the child to the new activity.
     • Modeling of being activity by older children or friends
     • Verbal support to initiate a new physical activity; particularly in the form of joining new activity clubs.
Maintenance of physical activity The maintenance of active behaviors was influenced by two factors:
     • Physical activity is enjoyable
     • Comparison of active and sedentary pursuits: Participants commented that the social aspects of activity are often preferable to the more solitary pursuits that can be associated with screen-time.