This paper analyses active leisure-time sports participation among adults from a time-trend perspective. Using stapled cross-sectional survey data from a representative sample of households, trends in active sport involvement in Flanders (Belgium) are studied over a period of 40 years (1969-2009). The paper explores to which extent sports participation levels have changed over the past four decades and whether or not participation differences still prevail according to sex, age and social class. The results show that sport has become a leisure-time physical activity in which seven out of ten people are actively involved. Like the 1970s, the last decade is characterized by a strong increase of leisure-time sport participants. In fact, a second wave of recreational participants has entered the sports scene. The majority of sport participants seem to partake in sport without the need of a strong club membership. No significant differences can be detected between the level of male and female sport participants, indicating that women have caught up with their male counterparts. On the other hand, active participation in sports remains socially stratified over the last three decades regarding educational status. Implications for researchers are discussed.
|Journal||European Journal for Sport and Society|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|