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Keeping Them in the Game: Taking Up and Dropping Out of Sport and Exercise in Ireland

Creator:

Lunn, P., Kelly, E. and Fitzpatrick, N., Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)

Subject Keywords: Physical activity and poor health
Topic: Obesity
Obesity
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Report
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Description:

The largest study of participation in sport and exercise ever conducted in Ireland was published today (18th December) by Minister for Sport Michael Ring. "Keeping them in the Game", commissioned by the Irish Sports Council and compiled by ESRI researchers, provides evidence for policy from three large nationally representative surveys of activity, covering everyone from primary school children to older adults.

The report highlights the growing evidence linking low levels of physical activity to poor health and focuses on why people take up and drop out from sport and exercise activities at different life stages.

Key findings include:

  • Almost all primary schoolchildren engage in regular sporting activity - it's what happens after that stage that is a cause for concern
  • Many children drop out of regular activity during the second-level years, especially girls
  • School exams have a strong negative impact: students participate less in exam years and this has a lasting effect on whether they are active in later years
  • Students who play sport get, on average, better Leaving Certificate results
  • Activity as an adult is less related to attitudes and beliefs than to life events: most adults believe sporting activity is good for them and want to be more active, but leaving education, work commitments, relocations and family responsibilities lead many to drop out
  • Cycling and, in particular, swimming, are most likely to persist into later adulthood; Gaelic games meanwhile have a high drop-out rate
  • New sporting activities are mostly taken up through social connections with friends, colleagues and family members; finding facilities is not a barrier
  • These factors lead to a widening socio-economic gap as people progress through adulthood - the less well-off are more likely to drop out from sport as young adults and less likely to take up new activities

Date:

18/12/2013

Rights: © Irish Sports Council (ISC)
Suggested citation:

Lunn, P., Kelly, E. and Fitzpatrick, N., Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). (2013) Keeping Them in the Game: Taking Up and Dropping Out of Sport and Exercise in Ireland [Online]. Available from: http://publichealthwell.ie/node/684817 [Accessed: 23rd September 2019].

  

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Contributor:

Sport Ireland
 
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