1.1 Benefits attained by society via exercise and sport
The Department of Health (2004) state in a recent report that Sport and physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of developing diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes by up to 50%, furthermore the report states that physical activity can reduce the risk of suffering a premature death by approximately 20-30%. These staggering statistics demonstrate the powerful impact physical activity can have in regards to combating health risks in the UK. The benefits to health that derive from adherence in physical activity and sport are overwhelming, however, health is not the only benefit to be obtained from an active society. Sullivan, C. (1998. cited in Collins and Kay, 2003) found that sport can help to encourage the growth of community, family and personal cohesion as well as help reduce intensity of youth delinquency. From the observations made in this paragraph it is feasible to suggest that having an active nation will result in a wide spectrum of benefits.
1.2 Current participation levels in the UK
Participation in sport, particularly in adults is shown to be rapidly decreasing. In The general Household Survey (2002, cited in National statistics) it was discovered that with the exclusion of walking, only 43% of the population had participated in some form of exercise in the four weeks prior to the research interview. It is accepted with recent statistics that participation rates in the UK are not adhering to the advised five times a week from the Department of Health, the author feels this is a worrying reality as there are many health implications resulting from a national neglect towards exercise.
2 Obesity levels in the UK suggest decreasing level in participation The following statistic helps to depict the current situation in regards to obesity levels in the UK. According to The Health Survey for England: Adult Reference Tables (1997, cited in The Department of Health) “Obesity has risen dramatically over the last five years - 17 per cent of men are now obese, compared with 13 per cent in 1993, and almost 20 per cent of women are now obese compared with 16 per cent in 1993.” It is of the authors personal belief that exercise is broadly accepted as a tool eligible for combating the emergent problem in society that is obesity, this belief can be further supported by the research of Twisk et al. (1997) who found that “Long-term exposure to daily physical activity was inversely related to body fatness.” In addition to this, more recent research concurs with Twisk et al. (1997) as Alfano et al. (2002) found past participation in sport displayed a linear relationship in retaining a lower Body Mass Index later on in life. With exercise regarded then as one of the more effectual preventatives to obesity, it is considered appropriate, and furthermore necessary by the author that research is carried out to ascertain the constraints evident that in-turn affect and prevent the continuation in physical activity throughout ones life.
2.1 Extra curricular sporting activity and the role it plays in reducing inactivity It is of the author’s belief that the more sport an individual plays whilst at school the more likely (S)he is to continue this practice after compulsory education has ceased. This personal opinion has the approval of Paffenbarger et al. (1984, cited in Hall et al. 2002) who “Found that men who participated in varsity or intramural sports in college were...