Otago University researchers have found that there is no guarantee that children who participate in sports will have an active lifestyle in their adulthood also.
Lead researcher Rose Richards says that though children who join sports clubs are twice as likely to take part in sports as adults, the relationship between an active childhood and being and active adult is not as strong as is commonly assumed.
She came to this conclusion on the basis of a study of 1000 people.
She revealed that the subjects were followed since their birth in Dunedin in 1972-73, in order to have a look at their participation in sports between the ages of seven and 21.
The study showed that though people who were more active at an early age were more likely to be active later in life, their level of participation varied.
"We can say that the stuff that's happening at preschool and primary school is really good and kids benefit from that, but this also showed that we have to look throughout the life course," stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying.
"As we get older, it can be hard to find time to be active because work and family take up more time. In modern society, if we don't think about it, it is very difficult to be active," she added.
Rose said that she appreciated campaigns run by organisations like Sport and Recreation New Zealand, which involve people to convince others to participate more in outdoor games.
"We are quite lucky because the organisations we have do try to focus on different groups. Sparc's Push Play campaign was a nice example of that - the way they had people to appeal to different groups," she said.
The Push Play campaign featured celebrities with different lifestyles, and fitness programmes that may help people adapt to lifestyles similar to that of their favourite stars.