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Health Educ Res. 2010 Apr;25(2):282-93. doi: 10.1093/her/cyn060. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Transition in participation in sport and unstructured physical activity for rural living adolescent girls.

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  • 1School of Human Movement.port Sciences, University of Ballarat, PO Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia. r.eime@ballarat.edu.au


Physical activity (PA) is important for lifelong health; however, participation is lower in rural compared with metropolitan areas and declines during adolescence, particularly for girls. It is likely that this decline is related to the number of life transitions that occur during adolescence. This qualitative study examined the views of active rural living girls regarding the factors affecting their sport and PA participation, using the socioecological model. Twenty-seven girls aged 16-17 from four schools participated in semi-structured focus group discussions. Content and thematic analysis was conducted from verbatim transcripts using NVivo. The girls enjoyed involvement in community club sport with friends and they reported living in communities where participation in sport was a major form of social interaction. However, the desire to succeed educationally was a critical factor affecting their participation in sport and PA and influenced their movement from structured club sport to more flexible, but socially isolated individual activities. It is recommended that future longitudinal research should track rural living adolescent females as they complete secondary school, in order to better understand the influence of educational priorities upon sport and PA participation and to identify practical strategies for both schools and community organizations to foster continuing participation throughout this crucial period of life transition.

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