FACTORS AFFECTING YOUNG FEMALES PARTICIPATION WITHIN SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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In 2009 22% of males and 24% of females over the age of 16 in the UK were categorically obese due to lack of exercise (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2010). It is therefore crucial to maintain participation from an early age to encourage an active adulthood Beaulieu (2008). Past research (Carroll and Loumidis, 2001; Malina, 2001; Daley, 2002 and Green, Smith & Roberts, 2005) looked at factors that caused youths to stop participating in sport or physical activity. The main aim of the study intended to further this research by exploring factors which cause young females to drop out of sport and physical activity. Statistics from the Active People Survey (2011) show that there has only been a 6% increase in female participation rates since 2008, suggesting that we may not have a good enough understanding of what causes drop out in young females. Using a qualitative research framework, data was collected through a mixed methods approach of questionnaires and interviews. 177 questionnaires were administered to females aged 16-18 in a local College in East Cardiff. The questionnaires helped to identify participation trends but also highlighted those individuals who had dropped out of sport and physical activity. These individuals were then interviewed to explore the reasons for drop out. The key findings show that young girls tend to drop out due to a lack of opportunities and a change in their interests, commonly through the social influences of their peers (Rees, Kavanagh, Harden, Shepard, Brunton, Oliver & Oakley, 2006). To prevent drop out due to lack of interest it was concluded that sport providers need to constantly find new ways to make sport and physical activity enjoyable for youths. With regards to opportunities, the findings suggested that a lot more female sports clubs need to be established throughout the UK in order to produce greater opportunities for young females to engage in a sport or physical activity of their choice.
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