CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN CULTURAL AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Information about Australian children's participation in cultural, sporting and other leisure activities has been collected in April every three years as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities (CPCLA) (cat. no. 4901.0). A responsible adult in each household participating in the survey was asked to respond on behalf of any children in the household aged 5-14 years. They provided information about the child's participation in selected organised cultural activities and organised sport outside of school hours during the twelve months prior to interview, and about their participation in selected leisure activities (such as skateboarding, reading and watching TV, videos and DVDs) outside of school hours during the two most recent school weeks prior to interview.
The most recent CPCLA survey was conducted in 2012. Scope and definitional changes to the 2012 survey has affected comparability with previous surveys. The scope of sports included in the 2012 survey has changed from previous years, with the focus now on organised sports. Physical activities that are not organised sports, such as jogging for exercise and gym workouts, are now excluded. Numerous sports have had changes to their definitions compared with previous survey iterations. The combined total categories 'other organised sport', 'at least one organised sport' and 'organised sports and/or dancing' are therefore different in 2012 compared with previous years, and time series comparisons should not be made.
Time series comparisons between the 2012 survey and previous iterations can be made for individual sports and leisure activities where scope and definitions have not changed. Over time the popularity of certain sports and leisure activities has changed as indicated by increases and decreases in participation rates. While many activities have remained popular, the amount of time that children are spending on them or the number of times that they participated may have changed.
The CPCLA survey collects information about children's participation in dancing separately to information about participation in organised sport, as it is generally collected as a 'cultural' activity. However, due to its popularity as a physical recreation activity for girls it is being included with organised sport for the purpose of this analysis in order to allow for a comparison of children's physical activity levels over time.