Social neighborhood environment and sports participation among Dutch adults: Does sports location matter?

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Abstract

Studies on the relation between the social neighborhood environment and sports participation have produced inconsistent results. Use of generic sports outcomes may have obscured associations only apparent for sports at certain locations. This study aims to assess the association between the social neighborhood environment and three location-specific sports outcomes. Repeated cross-sectional data on sports participation (any type of sports, sports at indoor sports clubs, sports at outdoor sports clubs, sports on streets) were obtained from 20 600 adults using the Dutch national health survey 2006–2009. Data on neighborhood social safety and social capital were obtained using the Dutch Housing Research 2006. Over 40% of Dutch adults participated in any type of sports. Indoor sports clubs were most popular. Multilevel logistic regression analyses revealed that neighborhood social safety was positively associated with sports at indoor sports clubs [odds ratio (OR) = 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.06–1.48), but not with the other sports outcomes. Contrary, neighborhood social capital was positively associated with sports on streets only (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.17–2.44). The results suggest that a positive social neighborhood environment enhances sports participation, but that this impact depends on the location of the sports activity. This study highlights the importance of using location-specific sports outcomes when assessing environmental determinants.

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