Aim: Despite the health benefits of physical activity in early childhood, little is known about sports practices in preschool children with different ethnic origins. The aim of this study was to investigate the sport activity patterns in native and immigrant children in northern Italy. The influence of some child and family determinants on the child’s practice of cluborganised sport was analysed to plan interventions. Methods: The study group comprised 2682 preschool children (49.5% girls) aged 5.9 0.3, 2396 fathers and 2478 mothers. All the children had their height and weight measured and their parents completed a self-administered questionnaire on their child’s sports participation and family characteristics. Results: Sports activities were significantly more frequent in native Italian girls than in native Italian boys and immigrant girls. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the weekly amount of club-organised sport in preschool children was related to the sex and migrant status in the whole sample, to paternal educational level and occupation in the native-born sample and to paternal body mass index, offspring and paternal occupation in the immigrant group. Conclusion: This study highlighted the need to develop specific interventions for native and immigrant preschool children to promote a healthy lifestyle.
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