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WA girls skip sport

Source: National Motor Museum, South Australia.

Shane Wright, Economics Editor WA girls skip sport for museums, The West Australian, 18 February 2015

Girls and young women across WA are abandoning sport and physical activity – but spending more time visiting the State’s galleries and museums.

Figures from the Bureau of Statistics reveal that fewer than two-thirds of girls aged between 15 and 17 took part in some form of physical activity.

Among women aged 25 to 34, the bureau found that in 2011-12 more than 76 per cent participated in some sort of sport.

By the latest survey, in 2013-14, this had fallen to 67.3 per cent.

Slightly older women have defied the trend but among pension-aged women there has been a big fall.

The proportion of young boys in sport has fallen sharply but males still participate in sport far more than females.

Across all West Australians, the proportion of people in all sports has fallen in recent years.

At a national and State level, the most popular physical activity is walking.

The bureau noted that there has been a big drop in people going for a stroll.

Instead, more of us are heading to the gym, while the number of people in aerobics or aqua aerobics is on the rise.

More than 3.2 million said they headed to the gym or did some other type of “fitness” activity.

Netball numbers are down but basketball numbers are up.

And traditional sports are shedding participants. Separate figures from the bureau suggest where all this activity has gone.

Almost 23 per cent of West Australians went to an art gallery through 2013-14, while 23.9 per cent headed to a museum. Both were up strongly on the bureau’s previous survey in 2009-10.

But SEDA netball facilitator Louise Bridgwood said netball interest among girls was growing, putting pressure on facilities.