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CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORTS AND DANCING A PSEUDO-LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS 2000 TO 2009
In order to identify how participation changes with age, a cohort’s average rate of organised sport and dancing participation was compared between surveys. For instance, the participation rate of children aged 6-8 years in the 2006 survey was compared with the rate of participation of children aged 9-11 years in the 2009 survey to determine how the participation rate changed for that cohort over the 2006-2009 period.
Each survey was referred to as a "data wave". Each additional wave of data introduced information to the longitudinal analysis. The fourth wave from the 2009 CPCLA survey was the most recent addition to the existing three waves of data first presented in the ABS (2009b) Research Paper: Children’s Participation in Organised Sporting Activity, Oct 2009 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.028). This added a new cohort, cohort 6, consisting of children aged 6-8 years in April 2009. Cohort 5, comprising of children aged 6-8 years in 2006 progressed into the 9-11 year age group in 2009, while cohort 4 moved into the 12-14 year age group. This is illustrated in the diagram below.
Further information regarding the methodology can be found in the ABS (2009b) Research Paper: Children’s Participation in Organised Sporting Activity, Oct 2009 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.028).
The 2009 data displayed similar patterns to those present in the previous three surveys. The total participation rate for children aged 6-14 years in 2009 was 70% which was higher than the participation rate of 67% recorded in 2000. For all years, participation increased with age from the 6-8 to 9-11 year age groups then fell for the 12-14 year age group.
6-8 year olds
Participation within the 6-8 year age group increased 4 percentage points over the 2000 to 2009 period, from 63% to 67%. Children aged 6-8 years had a significantly lower participation rate than 9-11 year olds for all survey years, and had the lowest participation rate of the three age categories in 2000 (63%) and 2003 (65%). There was not enough evidence to suggest statistically significant differences between the 6-8 year and 12-14 year age groups in 2006 and 2009.
9-11 year olds
A clear pattern of increasing and then decreasing participation can be seen amongst the two cohorts (cohort 3 and 4) that have progressed through three consecutive surveys. Participation was found to increase to a peak at 9-11 years before declining with age.
The table below shows the percentage point change in organised sport and dancing participation for cohorts of children that have progressed between the 6-8 year and 9-11 year age groups. Participation increased substantially as children moved between the two groups, with the most sizeable rise occurring within the third cohort (10 percentage points). More recently the changes in participation have decreased in magnitude. This could be attributed to children starting to participate in organised sport and dancing at a younger age (6-8 years), as opposed to taking up sport at 9-11 years of age.
The 2009 CPCLA survey found that almost three quarters (73%) of children aged 9-11 years participated in organised sport and dancing. Over the 9 year period the participation rate for the 9-11 year age group remained stable.
12-14 year olds
After peaking at 9-11 years of age, participation in organised sport and dancing declined amongst those aged 12-14 years. The declines in 2006 and 2009 resulted in the 12-14 year age group reporting participation rates that were similar to that of the 6-8 year age group for the respective surveys.
Cohort 4, aged 12-14 years in 2009, reported a participation rate of 69%, down 5 percentage points from the participation rate of the cohort at age 9-11 years (74%). Cohort 3 had the same percentage point drop in participation as cohort 4, while cohort 2 recorded a 3 percentage point drop. This shows that some children became less involved in organised sport and dancing as they reached their teenage years, than when they were 9-11 years old.
In 2009 the participation rate (69%) was significantly higher than the rate collected in the 2000 CPCLA (66%). Throughout the 2000 to 2009 period there was not enough evidence to suggest statistically significant changes between neighbouring survey years, suggesting that participation within the age group had increased slowly over the nine year period.
Participation increased in the 2000 to 2003 period with a 2 percentage point rise in the overall participation rate amongst all children. Participation did not increase at such a rate over the next 6 years to 2009.
Organised sport and dancing participation amongst children increased from 67% in 2000 to 70% in 2009. Participation between 2000 and 2009 increased for the 6-8 and 12-14 year age groups from 63% and 66% in 2000, to 67% and 69% in 2009 respectively. Participation was consistently at its highest amongst the 9-11 year age group (73% in 2009). Retention of involvement in organised sport and dancing amongst children aged 12-14 years appears to be an issue, with fewer children participating in organised sport and dancing as they reach their early teenage years.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2009a, Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009, cat. no. 4901.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS 2009b, Research Paper: Children's Participation in Organised Sporting Activity, Oct 2009, cat. no. 1351.0.55.028, ABS, Canberra.
ABS 2010, Year Book Australia, 2009-10, cat. no. 1301.0, ABS, Canberra.
Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute (MODI) 2012, Facts & Figures: Obesity in Australia, Accessed 13 March 2012 <http://www.modi.monash.edu.au/obesity-facts-figures/obesity-in-australia/>
Department of Health 2006, Healthy Weight Fact Sheet 2: Causes and consequences of overweight and obesity, Government of South Australia, Health Promotion Branch, Accessed 13 March 2012, <http://www.health.sa.gov.au/pehs/branches/health-promotion/healthy-weight-factsheet2.pdf>
VicHealth 2007, Fact Sheet: Obesity & Overweight, State Government of Victoria, Accessed 13 March 2012, <http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/~/media/ProgramsandProjects/PhysicalActivity/Attachments/obesity_fact.ashx >
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