Participation in sport and recreation in a poor community : perceived constraints and opportunities : physical activity and health
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Participation in physical activity and sport has many health benefits and contributes to well-being of individuals. In a broader context it could even bring communities together and improve social cohesion, especially in rural areas. This article focuses on constraints and opportunities associated with participation in sport and recreation in a rural setting. An empirical and quantitative research approach was used to collect primary data through a household survey in the Sicelo township, Gauteng province, South Africa during January 2014. A total of 400 households were included in the survey. Descriptive statistics were used to report on the data. Pearson's Chi-square test was applied in order to determine the existence of significant differences between the formal and informal areas in the study area in terms of their orientation towards the use of parks and sports facilities. Results indicated that the Sicelo area is poor with a low average income per family of R 2 483 per month. A total of 56 percent of households are living below the estimated poverty line. Respondents indicated that participation in sports and recreation activities were not high on their priority list. Limited community facilities exist in the area, which leads to long travel distances to sports and recreation facilities. Poor communities are generally excluded from the opportunity to participate in sports and recreation activities. It was concluded that participation of local poor communities is dependent on availability, maintenance, close proximity and safety at such facilities. Recommendations were made based on the results of the study.