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1345.4 - SA Stats, Feb 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/02/2011   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: YOUNG PEOPLE, SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA


INTRODUCTION

Participation in sports and physical recreation provides many benefits for both the individual and society. For young people (those aged 15-24), participation in sports and physical recreation can help teach important Australian values - 'volunteerism, cooperation, leadership, teamwork, meeting challenges, defeating adversity and pursuing excellence' - that will serve them well for the rest of their lives (Department of Health and Ageing, 2008). Schools play an important role in introducing and facilitating students' participation in sports and physical recreation. The challenge is how to maintain young peoples' interest in sports and physical recreation beyond school.

This article examines the participation in sports and physical recreation in 2009-10 for persons aged 15-24 years and compares the participation of 15-17 and 18-24 year olds. The article shows that males aged 15-17 years had a significantly higher participation rate than 15-17 year old females, however, there was a significant drop-off in the participation rate for 18-24 year old males. This drop-off was not observed for females. The male participation rate for 18-24 year olds was similar to the female participation rate.

Data have been sourced from the ABS publication, 'Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation' (cat. no. 4177.0). Due to unreliable estimates, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory data have been excluded from the following analysis, however, their figures have been included in all Australian totals.


PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION

The national participation rate in sports and physical recreation for persons aged 15-24 years was 72% in 2009-10. This was similar to 2005-06 when the participation rate was 73%. In South Australia, the participation rate for persons aged 15-24 years was 70% in 2009-10. While this was four percentage points lower than the 2005-06 participation rate (74%), the difference was not significant.

PARTICIPANTS AGED 15-24, Sports and Physical Recreation
Graph: PARTICIPANTS AGED 15-24, Sports and Physical Recreation


Nationally, in 2009-10, males aged 15-17 years had a significantly higher participation rate (86%) in sports and physical recreation than those aged 18-24 years (69%). Males aged 15-17 years in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland also had a significantly higher participation rate than those aged 18-24 years. In South Australia, the participation rate for males aged 15-17 years was 91% and 66% for those aged 18-24 years. The drop-off in participation observed between males aged 15-17 years and 18-24 years suggests a possible loss of interest, changing priorities or the loss of structure and organisation associated with school sport, as young males transition from high school to work or further study.

MALE PARTICIPANTS, Sports and Physical Recreation - By age - 2009-10
Graph: MALE PARTICIPANTS, Sports and Physical Recreation—By age - 2009-10


Nationally, in 2009-10, females aged 15-17 and 18-24 years had a similar participation rate (71% and 70% respectively). In South Australia, the participation rate for females aged 15-17 years was 65% and 69% for those aged 18-24 years. This pattern of participation by South Australian females contrasts the significant decrease in participation observed in South Australian males between these age groups. The male participation rate starts off at a significantly higher level than females during school age but drops off to a similar level post school. This may suggest that, in comparison to males, participation in sports and physical recreation remains relatively unaffected for South Australian females during the transition from high school to work or further study.

FEMALE PARTICIPANTS, Sports and Physical Recreation - By age - 2009-10
Graph: FEMALE PARTICIPANTS, Sports and Physical Recreation—By age - 2009-10



SUMMARY

For South Australian males, a significant decrease in sports and physical recreation participation rates between the ages of 15-17 years and 18-24 years, to levels observed in females, suggests there are factors that influence the changing participation during the transition from high school to work or further study for males. This pattern was not evident in South Australian females with the participation rates in sports and physical recreation remaining similar between the ages of 15-17 years and 18-24 years.


REFERENCES

ABS, 2005-06, Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0)

ABS, 2009-10, Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0)

Australian Government, 2008, Department of Health and Ageing, Programs and Initiatives - Sport: Participation, viewed 20th January 2011, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/sport-participation>


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