Communal Sport Policy In Switzerland And Their Relevance For Sports And Physical Activity Of Young People

Klostermann, Claudia (6 September 2017). Communal Sport Policy In Switzerland And Their Relevance For Sports And Physical Activity Of Young People (Unpublished). In: 25th EASM Conference Challenges and Developments of Sport Organisations. Bern and Magglingen. 5.-8.09.2017.

Aim of the research
Based on the variety of social functions, promoting sport and physical activity is a purpose of sport policy
common to national and local governments (e.g. Rütten et al., 2014). In Switzerland, especially local municipalities
promote sport and physical activity, for example, by maintaining local sport facilities. However,
little is known about to what extent communal sport policy can influence sport and physical activity of
young inhabitants.
Theoretical background and literature review
Sport and physical activity is influenced by many multilevel factors. Based on the theory of social action
(Coleman, 1990), it is assumed that individual behaviour is not only determined by individual but also by
structural and socio-cultural factors in which a person is socially embedded. In recent years, the socio-cultural
and environmental factors of physical and sport activity have received increased attention, especially,
in the health-promotion field (e.g. Rütten et al., 2014). However, the majority of these approaches have not
specified the socio-cultural circumstances and sport-related conditions of the municipal context (e.g. sport
policy). There is a “scientific lag in developing policy and environmental approaches to physical activity”
(Rütten et al., 2001, p. 139).
Methodology, research design and data analysis
In 34 selected municipalities, multilevel data was gathered analysing possible influences of structural factors
on sports behaviour. Using an online survey, 15 to 30 year old inhabitants (N = 4039, age: M = 21.48) were
questioned about their physical activities, and their perception of sport-related structural characteristics in
their commune (e.g. evaluation of the availability of facilities, their satisfaction with the local sports policy
and the local sport facilities). To collect information about communes’ sport facilities and municipal promotion
of sport, representatives of the municipal administration were interviewed. The results of the online
survey were examined with a logistical multilevel analysis (sportive active or inactive as dependent variable)
as well as a multilevel analysis with Poisson distribution (hours of sports and physical activity as dependent
variable). To differentiate the status of communal sport policies, an unweighted summation index was calculated
with the variables importance of the local sports policy, sports policy space, number of sports policy
concepts, cooperation with local sports providers and organization of sports events.
Results, discussion and conclusions
First results show that the representatives of the municipal administration in communes with high physical-
activity rates reported a higher status of the local sport policy (n = 15, M = 3.53, SD = .74) when
compared to the representatives in communes with lower rates (n = 19, M = 2.89, SD = .88). This finding
was confirmed by the results of the online survey because young inhabitants in communes with high physical-
activity rates evaluated the local sport policy better (n = 1896, M = 3.7, SD = 1.09) than the communes
with low rates (n = 1078, M = 3.36, SD = 1.15). Furthermore, logistical multilevel analyses reveal that an
active communal sport policy fosters sport and physical activity of young inhabitants (β = .05, OR = 1.06). In
addition, the sport and physical activity of young inhabitants depends on the existence of commercial sport
providers in the municipality (proportion of sport clubs: β = -.99, OR = .37). Thus, in opposition to recent
sport policy, it is not only the maintenance of classical sport clubs that drives the sport and physical activity
in young inhabitants but the integration of commercial sport providers should be considered as well.
Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.
Rütten, A., Abel, T., Kannas, L., von Lengerke, T., Lüschen, G., Rodriguez Diaz, J. A. ... van der Zee, J.
(2001). Self reported physical activity, public health, and perceived environment: Results from a comparative
European study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55, 139–146.
Rütten, A., Frahsa, A., Engbers, L., Gusi, N., Mota, J., Pacenka, R. et al. (2014). Supportive Environments
for Physical Activity, Community Action and Policy in 8 European Union Member States: Comparative
Analysis and Specificities of Context. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11, 873–883.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Sociology and Management

UniBE Contributor:

Klostermann, Claudia


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Claudia Klostermann

Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2018 12:41

Last Modified:

09 Feb 2018 09:35


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