Student Sporting Habits Revealed

Sarah Rowe, Catherine McManus, Rachel Graham, Jack McCaffrey and Kevin Kelly 25/2/2016A year long study of Irish third level students has found that 64% are highly active but that only one in seven are members of sports clubs.

This would indicate a growing trend towards personalised sport as opposed to teams and is a reflection perhaps of the similar move in entertainment towards Netflix style viewing where and when you want as opposed to the more collective style of previous generations.

Student Sport Ireland launched the Student Activity and Sports Study Ireland (SASSI) at the National Sports Campus yesterday.  The study involved a survey of over
over 9,000 students in 31 third level colleges north and south.

The intention was to explore sport and physical activity preferences among the student population.

70% of students were found to participate in individual based activities such as cardio classes, weight training, circuit training and exercise to music.

This will undoubtedly influence future capital spending on sport an area where €50 million is due to be invested between now and 2019 in colleges across the country.

“This is an extensive research study, the first ever all-island study on sports participation within a third level context,” said John Treacy, CEO of Sport Island.

“The value of participating in sport and physical activity cannot be underestimated.”

“Even small improvements in participation levels will confer health, social and economic benefits both for the individual and for society as a whole. I am delighted to say that 64% of students are ‘highly active’, and deemed sufficiently active to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for health”.

Other key findings from the research include:

  • Male students are more active than female students with 71% of them being highly active compared to 58% of females
  • 1 in 7 students are members of a sports club
  • The top 5 participation sports in and out of college are Exercise (i.e. cardio classes, weight training, circuit training and exercise to music), Gaelic Football, Soccer, Running and Walking
  • Social influence was the main determinant of participation within colleges with the odds of participation 57% lower if a student felt that s/he ‘did not have anyone to do physical activity with’.
  • 6,700 scholarships were awarded between 2009 to 2013
  • Colleges spend approximately €11m per annum in current investment in sport and physical activity.

Pictured at the launch of the report are (Front row L-R): Mayo footballer Sarah Rowe (DCU), Catherine McManus (DCU) from athletics, Ireland women’s international soccer player Rachel Graham (IT Carlow), (Back row): Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey (UCD) and Kilkenny hurler Kevin Kelly (IT Carlow)

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