Physical activity engagement among young people living in the care system: A narrative review of the literature

Lauren Bruce, Bengianni Pizzirani, Rachael Green (nee Cox), Thomas Quarmby, Renee O'Donnell, David Strickland, Helen Skouteris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Young people living in care are among the most vulnerable groups in the community, have often experienced trauma, and exhibit a wide range of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Physical activity (PA) is a health behaviour associated with numerous physical, psychological and social health benefits, yet research indicates that a majority of young people in care are not meeting the minimum recommended levels of PA. To date, there is a paucity of research that has specifically examined factors associated with PA engagement in the care population. A narrative review was conducted to summarise the literature examining outcomes for young people in care who engage in PA, and the barriers and facilitators of PA engagement among young people living in care. Findings of the review suggest that there are multiple factors that may impact young people in care from engaging in PA, including physical, psychological, family, interpersonal, and societal/environmental level factors. Given the unequivocal benefits of increased physical activity, empirical research is required to more comprehensively examine these factors in the care environment and should be couched within a trauma-informed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Barriers
  • Children
  • Facilitators
  • Out-of-home care
  • Physical activity
  • Review

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