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Professor reacts in report on children in sport: – A warning

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75 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 12 exercise one or more times a week. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB.

Of NTB | 16.04.2024 12:03:36

Sport: The figures appear in the report «Children and Sports» from the Youth Data Center at Oslo Met and the Research Center for Children and Youth Sports at the Norwegian Institute of Sport and Sports (NIH).

Over 100,000 children between the ages of 10-12 have answered questions about training and participation in sports. These are the main findings:

* 75 percent answer that they exercise one or more times during the week.

* 66 percent answer that they do sport as a regular leisure activity once or more a week.

* 14 percent answer that they never exercise.

The report also shows that there are challenges to sport’s main goal of “sports enjoyment for all”. The children who took part in the report were divided into five groups based on socio-economic background. 75 percent of those with the most resources at home had sport as a leisure activity. For those with the fewest resources, the figure is 53.

– There are many children with a lower socio-economic status who participate, but the social inequality is clear, says Professor Åse Strandbu in a press release.

Strandbu is head of the Research Center for Children’s and Youth Sports and has written the report together with youth researcher Anders Bakken.

– Some of that may be due to the fact that those who may not be doing so well may have a greater chance of quitting sports. Or maybe they don’t start sports at all, says Bakken.

Strandbu believes it is important for sports to take it to heart.

– These findings can also be a warning to the sport that it is not able to bring in those who might have needed the sport in particular. It is not the case that one should interpret these figures only in the direction that sport is a great success when it comes to improving the quality of life, says Strandbu.

Sports President Zaineb Al-Samarai has had poverty at her heart since before she took office last year.

– A minimum of NOK 225 million must be set aside in the state budget for 2025 to reduce finances as a barrier, Al-Samarai said in March.

– It is interesting, because there is a lot of talk about a lot of screen use today. One would then perhaps think that children and young people today are less physically active, says Strandbu.

– We cannot use our study to comment there, but we also do a review of other studies that go back in time. There is actually very little change in physical activity, Strandbu states.

– We find that there is more activity the more centrally located the municipalities are. So in Oslo and the big cities, rather than in the countryside, says Bakken and adds:

– At the same time, we also see that there is some variation between the 16 largest municipalities. The municipalities that had the lowest participation were approximately at the same level as the municipalities in the village.

The report also states that children who are included in sports have more well-being in life.

The press release states that other studies show that children’s activity in sports is stable.

The report shows clear differences in where in the country children are most active.

(© NTB)

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