Socio Economic Status And Sports

There are many factors that can affect an individual’s participation in sports and physical activity (PA) and one of them is their socio-economic status (SES). The most interesting thing I realize is that my ability and frequency to participate in some types of sport is determined by the extent to which I can afford the equipment or environment required to participate in that particular sport. For instance, when I visited Canada last December, I intended to participate in scuba-diving but I did not – because I could not afford some of the equipment required in scuba diving e.g. the buoyancy control equipment and the scuba regulator.

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A possible implication of this new understanding is that some sports such as scuba-diving are more accessible and popular within the members of the society who can afford the expensive equipment that is involved in such sports (Steenhuis et al, 2009). This understanding is important in two ways. First, it indicates that money is an important aspect that determines the type of physical activity an individual can engage in. Secondly, it reveals the idea that some sports such as scuba diving are mostly participated by those in the higher SES because they can afford it. In fact, this realization corroborates with the assertions of Pan et al (2009) that the upper middle and the upper classes have specific sports (e.g. tennis and scuba diving) that they favour, while those in lower-middle class are more likely to engage in community sports such as football which is cheap and readily accessible.

Nonetheless, having realized that, I wonder if entrepreneurs in the sports industry have attempted to accommodate the lower-middle class by manufacturing cheaper sporting equipment for certain sports such as Scuba diving. All in all, this new insight will change the way I approach sports because I know understand the important role that SES plays in determining a person’s engagement in sports and PA.

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A significant issue I have not mentioned in the previous reflection is my realization of the idea that accessibility to low-cost recreation facilities has a significant influence on an individual’s PA levels. For instance, while at home, I often swim at my neighbourhood’s swimming club facility for free but while visiting my aunt in Canada, I can only swim at a nearby gym and sports centre facility, which is extremely expensive. Thus I swim more when at home than when in Canada. This realization echoes the words of Federico et al (2013) that people with access to low-cost recreational facilities are more positively influenced to engage in PA that those who are not in access to low-cost recreational facilities. A possible implication of this realization is that for people in the lower SES to regularly participate in PA such as swimming, the facilities must be accessible at a cheaper price because otherwise they would not be motivated to participate.

References

  • Federico B., Falese L., Marandola D., Capelli G. (2012) Socioeconomic differences in sport and physical activity among Italian adults. J Sports Sci. 31(4):451–8.
  • Pan S., Cameron C., DesMeules M., Morrison H., Craig C., Jiang X. (2009) Individual, social, environmental, and physical environmental correlates with physical activity among Canadians: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 9(1):21.
  • Steenhuis I., Nooy S., Moes M., Schuit A. (2009) Financial barriers and pricing strategies related to participation in sports activities: The perceptions of people of low income. J Phys Act Health.;6:716–21

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